‘Not going back until…’, women heroes play crucial role in saving 41 lives

‘Not going back until…’, women heroes play crucial role in saving 41 lives

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  • November 20, 2023
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Uttarakhand tunnel collapse: The efforts of women heroes went unnoticed in the critical mission to rescue 41 stranded laborers from the collapsed Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi. With shovels and construction tools in their hands, the women laborers from the Border Roads Organisation’s General Reserve Engineer Force played a crucial role in constructing a 1.5 km track leading to the top of a hillock under the tunnel. 

The remarkable scene unfolded on Sunday morning. “Not going back until we finish our work and save all the 41 people trapped there,” the women leaders were working with precision to accomplish their mission by evening and save the lives of 41 workers who had been trapped since November 12. 

Speaking to The Times of India, Uttara Devi, a 39-year-old widow and GREF member for a decade said that she started her day at 3 am after receiving orders to move to the tunnel collapse site

“We all have been trained to fight against all odds under any circumstances. We will achieve our goal and won’t give up until our work will be completed here. I will be happy if I can save their lives,” Suman, a 35-year-old GREF woman and widow from Himachal told TOI. 

Another GREF woman, Geeta Devi who is a mother of two children from Chhattisgarh, said that making roads and climbing up mountains is not tough because our mission is the key. “We have made a road over 1.5 km, and now it is only the machine that needs to be brought up,” said Kavita Singh, a GREF woman as quoted by TOI. 

In Uttarakhand, the Silkyara tunnel collapsed on November 12, trapping around 41 men. A rescue operation for these trapped workers was put on hold on November 19 as the agencies were involved in preparing for the next stage by adopting multiple approaches to reach the men trapped for the past few days.

However, the Tehri Hydroelectric Development Corporation was going to start ‘micro tunneling’ on Sunday night on the Char Dham route from the Barkot end of the under-construction tunnel.

On November 17, an American-made heavy-duty auger machine encountered a hard obstacle while boring for about 22 meters through the collapsed debris of 60-metre stretch from the Silkyara end. The boring through the debris has for now been halted.

A series of alternative rescue plans to reach the workers trapped inside the under-construction tunnel are being worked on.

The built-up portion of the tunnel is about two kilometers and is 8.5 meters high with availability of water and electricity. So far, a 6-inch wide tube has been pushed 39 meters deep into the rubble that would send food and water to the trapped men once it cuts through completely.

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Updated: 20 Nov 2023, 10:32 AM IST

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