Operation to trace third worker put off

Jaswinder Singh Baidwan

Akhran da mureed
Staff member
The operation to trace missing worker Hriday Ram, a native of Siniardi village in Mandi, was temporarily suspended today after the portal of the tunnel developed big cracks, making the tunnel unsafe.
Workers engaged in clearing debris to make a bigger horizontal opening were evacuated today. The area was later sealed by the district administration. Work on making a horizontal cavity would resume after consulting technical experts.
The Deputy Commissioner took this decision after holding a meeting with technical and tunnel experts of the IL&FS and Himalaya Construction Company and took stock of the situation at the site today.
Workers spotted cracks in the tunnel this afternoon and informed the rescue operation control room. The area was sealed as tunnel 4 had become unsafe for workers, said officials monitoring the operation.
Satish and Mani Ram said they did not spot Hriday Ram in the tunnel when they ran for safety during the tunnel collapse. “We did not spot him anywhere in the tunnel as there was panic. We went back to save our lives. We cannot say whether or not he was buried under the debris,” they said.
“Workers expressed concern over cracks in the tunnel before the collapse. They wanted grouting and ripping work to be done, but the company turned a deaf ear to their demand,” they said.
The NDRF sought a bigger and deeper horizontal hole through the debris. The life detector put through the three-inch hole failed to detect any person trapped in the tunnel so far, said Anil Dabarwal, Deputy Commandant, NDRF.
He said they would wait for the response of the district administration to join the operation.