‘Vertical drilling 2nd best option’

  • | Monday | 27th November, 2023

Dehradun/Silkyara: Even as the escape tunnel was being cleared by Army personnel for proceeding with horizontal drilling which is considered the best option by rescue agencies to reach the trapped workers at the moment, work also progressed on four other options which were part of the 5-pronged approach decided by rescuers over a week ago.These include vertical drilling, drilling from the Barkot-end of the tunnel and excavating escape tunnels on the left and right side of the main tunnel.Of these, vertical drilling — deemed the second-best alternative by rescuers (after horizontal drilling through the main tunnel) — was initiated by Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) from the Silkyara mountaintop on Sunday evening. The objective is to create a 1.2-meter diameter escape passage to facilitate the rescue of the 41 trapped workers, officials said.However, as per experts, the process is not without risks, mainly due to the vibrations that the drilling could cause inside the tunnel, triggering chances of more damage. Neeraj Khairwal, IAS officer coordinating the rescue operation on behalf of the Uttarakhand government, said that activities within the tunnel were halted when the vertical drilling machines were being maneuvered towards the mountain top, a move that could potentially induce further debris collapse, posing a risk to the rescue personnel operating inside the tunnel.He also said that specialists from the department of science and technology and IIT Roorkee arrived to assess the potential vibrations that may occur during the vertical drilling process.Meanwhile, the Tehri Hydro Development Corporation (THDC) commenced construction of a rescue tunnel from the Barkot end. As of Sunday, the state-run corporation had completed the excavation of 10.6 meters. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) had been assigned the responsibility of conducting vertical drilling with a 24-inch diameter towards the Barkot end of the 4.5km tunnel. The Air Drilling Rig from Indore has arrived at the site. All the related materials for the Air Hammer Drilling Rig, mobilised by ONGC, are on standby at Rishikesh, as the road and the location for the placement of the rig for drilling are being prepared by BRO, a statement by National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL), which is co-ordinating the rescue effort, said.We also published the following articles recentlyNo progress since Thursday, drilling to resume shortly: NDMA on Silkyara tunnel rescue opsThe National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has announced that there has been no progress in the efforts to rescue the 41 trapped workers at the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand. However, the drilling process will resume soon using an auger machine. Repair work is underway to address the obstacles in the drilling process. Lt Gen (retd) Syed Ata Hasnain, an NDMA member, emphasized that all available resources are being utilized for the rescue operation. The trapped workers are safe and their well-being is being monitored.BRO completes track to hilltop for vertical drillingThe Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has completed the construction of a track for heavy machines to reach the hilltop above the Silkyara tunnel. Major Naman Narula of BRO stated that the track construction work and drilling machine vehicles have been completed. Workers have moved light machinery up the hill and repaired the road, ensuring no difficulty in transporting heavy machines to the tunnel site.Drilling stopped again at Uttarkashi tunnel, 41 workers remain trapped on Day 13Rescue operations at the Silkyara tunnel faced a setback as drilling was halted due to an obstacle encountered by the auger drilling machine. This is the second setback in two days. The collaborative rescue effort began on November 12 when a section of the under-construction tunnel collapsed, trapping workers inside. The rescue effort had progressed to 48.6 meters out of the estimated 57 meters of rubble blocking the tunnel.

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