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A race is underway to rescue workers in Uttarkashi.

Uttarakhand: A race is underway to rescue workers who are trapped in Uttarkashi, We are sharing information with our readers from the Government of India sources regarding the ongoing rescue efforts to save 41 workers who are trapped in the Silkyara Tunnel in Uttarkashi. Despite the race against time, the Government, along with multiple agencies, is making significant progress in constructing a Vertical Rescue Tunnel. As of 7:41 PM on November 20, 2023, the 2 km tunnel portion has access to electricity, water, and essential supplies, and the drilling of vital pipelines is underway. This collaborative effort by key agencies is crucial in completing this lifeline and rescuing precious lives. Here is a detailed update on the ongoing rescue operations and the milestones achieved so far.

Ongoing Rescue Operations:

Intensive efforts are underway to save 41 workers trapped in the Silkyara Tunnel in Uttarkashi.
The Government is committed to preserving lives, maintaining constant communication, and boosting the morale of workers in the 2 km tunnel section with completed concrete work for enhanced safety.

Infrastructure and Services in Trapped Section:

The 2 km tunnel portion has access to electricity and water.
Workers receive essential supplies, including food and medicines, through a 4-inch compressor pipeline.

Breakthrough in Supply Infrastructure:

NHIDCL achieves a significant breakthrough by completing the drilling of a 6-inch diameter pipeline for the supply of essential items.
RVNL is actively working on another vertical pipeline to ensure a seamless flow of vital resources.

Government Agency Involvement:

Various government agencies are working tirelessly to ensure the safe evacuation of trapped workers. Detailed updates on the Vertical Rescue Tunnel construction:

Rescue Operations Highlights:

NHIDCL resumes horizontal boring from the Silkyara end using the Augur boring machine.
SJVNL’s first machine for the Vertical Rescue Tunnel is on-site, with operations starting post-completion of the access road by BRO.
Movement of two additional machines for vertical tunnel construction initiated from Gujarat and Odisha.

Additional Construction Initiatives:

THDC initiates the construction of a 480-meter rescue tunnel from the Barkot end.
RVNL mobilizes machinery for micro-tunneling through horizontal drilling for laborer rescue, transported from Nashik and Delhi.
ONGC mobilizes machinery for vertical boring from the USA, Mumbai, and Ghaziabad.

Commendable Efforts by BRO:

BRO constructs the approach road for vertical drilling by RVNL and SJVNL within 48 hours. Ongoing work on the approach road for ONGC.


On November 12, 2023, a collapse occurred in the under-construction tunnel from Silkyara to Barkot due to muck falling in a 60-meter stretch. Immediate mobilization of resources by the State Government and the Government of India for the rescue of the 41 trapped laborers.
Initially decided to lay a 900 mm pipe through the muck, but due to ground movement on November 17, 2023, the option was deemed unsafe without securing the structure.
The trapped area is 8.5 meters high and 2 km long, with electricity and water available.
Five options were considered, and five agencies (ONGC, SJVNL, RVNL, NHIDCL, THDCL) were assigned responsibilities.

On-Going Initiatives by Key Agencies:

NHIDCL:  progressing with a 6-inch pipeline, 39 meters out of 60 meters drilled.
RVNL :  constructing a vertical pipeline after the Border Roads Organization builds an approach road within one day.
NHIDCL: to continue drilling from the Silkyara end, with safety arrangements facilitated by the Army.
THDC: undertaking micro-tunneling from the Barkot end with heavy machinery mobilized.
SJVNL: implementing vertical drilling, with equipment transported from Gujarat and Odisha through Railways.
ONGC : initiating vertical drilling from the Barkot end with expertise in deep drilling. More on Tunnel on NewsIP.

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