Akhran da mureed
Three workers of Himalayan Construction Company executing the Kiratpur-Ner Chowk four-laning project were trapped when a portion of Tunnel No. 4 at Tihra, 13 km from Bilaspur, caved in last night. The rescue work continued till late in the evening today but none of the trapped persons could be rescued.
Only the three workers —foreman and overseer Satish Tomar of Paonta Sahib, Mani Ram and Hirday Ram from Mandi —were reportedly present when the mishap occurred around 9 pm during the evening shift; otherwise, the number of people trapped would have been much more.
The workers are learnt to have been discussing the next day’s drill when a landslide, triggered by sinking portion, blocked a 100-metre patch starting from the tunnel’s entrance. At least 260-metre length of the 1.4-km-long tunnel has been constructed so far.
The district administration and police officials were at the spot to oversee the rescue operation, said S. Kaul, Project Director, National Highways Authority of India. He said help had also been sought from the National Disaster Response Force.
Efforts were being made to pump oxygen into the tunnel, having a 12-metre diameter, and insert a 1.5-metre diameter pipe to prepare an escape route for the trapped workers, he said.
Bilaspur Superintendent of Police Balbir Thakur, who is monitoring the rescue operation, said the project authorities informed that only three workers were trapped inside the tunnel. He said heavy machinery had been deployed to remove the debris.