Khooni Nallah Operation Suspended, Nine Workers Still Trapped In Ill Fated Tunnel

by Tahir Bhat

SRINAGAR: With yet another hillock crumbling down on the collapsed new highway tunnel, the rescue efforts are getting seriously difficult, reports reaching from Ramban said. The rescue operations have been suspended as adverse weather conditions prevented any work.

With three rescued injured and one recovered dead there are nine workers still missing and presumed to be in the tunnel. “Of the ten that were missing by today morning, we recovered the body of Sudhir Roy today,” Deputy Commissioner, Ramban, Masrat ul Islam said. “Of the nine missing, four are from West Bengal, two each from Ramban and Nepal and one from Assam.”

The Deputy Commissioner said that due to a fresh slide, and quick change in weather conditions, the operation has been suspended. “IF weather permits, the operation will resume Saturday morning,” he said.

“The rescue workers had made some progress but this afternoon, another part of the hillock collapsed and undid the progress that had been made,” sources privy of the developments at the Khooni Nalls tunnel said. “The entire landslide would require clearance again.”

Official sources said that there are almost nine workers who are believed to be still inside the ill-fated tunnel. These include two locals, two residents of Nepal, one from Assam and all others from West Bengal.

The rescue teams recovered one person dead during the day.

The hillock under which the new tunnel of the new highway project was being laid caved in again today. The main landslide had hit the opening of the small tunnel Thursday night. At least three machines were destroyed by the landslide that closed the opening of the tunnel.

Officials said hillock debris covered the entire freshly-drilled opening of the T3 tunnel. The entire Khooni Nallah stretch is a shooting stone area making the work challenging. The workers had barely managed to drill not more than three meters when it gave it to the weight. The tunnel is being laid by Sarla Company.

Deputy Commissioner, however, clarified that the tunnel is being mistaken as that of T4, which is all right and in use. “It is just an ancillary tunnel the work on which had barely started,” he said.

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