Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Wednesday celebrated the Igas Bagwal festival with the family members of the 41 rescued workers from the Uttarkashi tunnel. The workers, who were trapped inside the collapsed Silkyara tunnel for the last 17 days, were safely evacuated on Tuesday. They got stuck inside the tunnel on November 12 following a landslide.
A day after the workers were rescued, Pushkar Singh Dhami today met their families and held dinner with them.
The chief minister joined them in dance amid firecracker celebrations during ‘Igas Bagwal’ at his residence.
On Tuesday, Dhami said none of the 41 labourers rescued from an under-construction road tunnel in Uttarkashi district was in a critical condition.
“All of them were healthy. They crawled out of the passage rather than being carried on stretchers,” Dhami told reporters soon after the evacuation of the labourers from the Silkyara tunnel.
He said the labourers, who were trapped in the tunnel for almost 17 days after a portion of the structure collapsed due to a landslide on November 12, will be kept under medical observation, before being sent home.
The agency they are working for and the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) have been asked to allow them to go home for 15-20 days, the chief minister added.
Dhami also said the evacuation began with the youngest of the labourers. He thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his constant support and motivation during the rescue operation.
The chief minister announced that Rs 1 lakh will be given to each of the 41 construction workers. He also said the Baukhnag temple at the mouth of the temple will be rebuilt and the tunnels under construction in the hill state reviewed. The Union government has decided to conduct a safety audit of the under-construction tunnels, Dhami said.
He said the American auger machine used in the rescue operation repeatedly hit hurdles and thanked the manual miners for accomplishing the mission.
“The manual miners played a big role in the rescue operation. International experts were consulted regarding the shortest route for the workers to come out,” he said.
Dhami especially thanked the manual workers from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh and the Delhi Jal Board (DJB), who drilled through the final stretch of the rubble to get to the labourers.
Quoting the labourers with whom he spoke after their evacuation, the chief minister said they were uncertain about their fate for the first few days, but once communication was established with them and they got to know about the enormous rescue operation launched for their safety, they became sure about their evacuation.
With inputs from PTI