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India 24-Nov, 2023

Tragedy Strikes Uttarkashi as Tunnel Collapse Claims Lives

By: Manya Upreti

Tragedy Strikes Uttarkashi as Tunnel Collapse Claims Lives

In addition to interfering with travel, the tunnel collapse has prompted concerns about the region's vital infrastructure's upkeep and safety. Image Source: Business Today

Reaching the impacted spot has become more difficult due to the area's difficult geography and unfavorable weather.

On November 12, the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi collapsed, causing numerous casualties and leaving rescue crews fighting for their lives in a horrific event that rocked the area.

Around 7:30 AM on Monday, the tunnel—a crucial conduit for transit through the steep terrain—broke down, trapping multiple cars and their occupants. Although the exact cause of the collapse is yet unknown, early assessments indicate that geological conditions and the region's recent intense rains may have had a role in the catastrophe.

Emergency services, including the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), local police, and volunteers, raced to the area to begin rescue operations as soon as word of the collapse spread. Reaching the impacted spot has become more difficult due to the area's difficult geography and unfavorable weather. The task of rescuing 41 laborers who have been stuck in the collapsed Silkyara Tunnel in Uttarkashi for the past ten days has been given to a 15-member NDRF squad under the commandant. To guarantee the safe transfer of the rescued people, medical professionals have been stationed within the tunnel, and ambulances are outside. The ambulances will take the workers to a hospital that was built in Chinyalisaur, which is about 30 kilometers away from the tunnel.

Uttarkashi, already grappling with the aftermath of the 2022 flash floods, now faces another severe crisis. In addition to interfering with travel, the tunnel collapse has prompted concerns about the region's vital infrastructure's upkeep and safety. Speaking to the media, Uttarakhand's chief minister said, "We are extremely saddened by the tragic incident in Uttarkashi. Right now, saving as many lives as we can is our top priority. Our efforts to hasten the rescue process are fully underway, and we are deploying every resource at our disposal."

The federal and state governments have promised a comprehensive inquiry into the reasons behind the tunnel collapse, as well as financial support for the impacted families. Calls for a thorough examination of the infrastructure in hilly regions vulnerable to natural disasters have been sparked by the tragedy. Geologists and environmentalists are pushing for comprehensive geological surveys from the authorities before initiating infrastructure projects in these areas. It is also being suggested that climate change and its effects on the stability of the landscape are contributing causes to accidents such as the collapse of the tunnel.

As the nation mourns the loss of lives in Uttarkashi, the focus remains on the ongoing rescue operations and the need for preventive measures to ensure the safety of the region's infrastructure in the face of environmental challenges.

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