Virbhadra Singh

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said that untiring efforts were being made to reach the trapped labourers in the under construction tunnel of Kiratpur-Nerchowk four lane road in Bilaspur district. He said that an inquiry would be conducted into the mishap and responsibility would be fixed for the lapse but our efforts are to maintain first line of contact.

The Chief Minister hoped for the survival of those trapped inside and directed the administration to spare no efforts in relief and rescue operations.

The Chief Minister, who was reviewing ongoing relief and rescue operation being carried out at the tunnel site, said here today that experts of Border Roads Organization (BRO) and Mr. R.S. Rao, Director (Tunnels) who was also looking after the Rohtang Tunnel project reached the site on 13th September morning and had been camping there since then with his team and carrying out rescue operation.

He informed that rescue operation was being carried out day and night under the technical supervision of BRO. A team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), from Bathinda and Army experts from Chandimandir took detailed survey and were satisfied with the ongoing operation. A team of Jaypee and Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam ltd (SJVNL) were also there on the site and were co-operating in the operation.

The Chief Minister said that the foremost objective was to reach the trapped. Their families were being provided boarding and lodging near the site and taken well care of said he.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner, Bilaspur, Manasi Sahay Thakur informed that much headway has been made to reach the trapped labourers in the under construction tunnel. She said that breakthrough has been made today through the top vertical insertion as 50 meters had been drilled and the work on the horizontal insertion was also underway. “It is only a matter of three to four hours for maintaining immediate line of contact with those trapped inside”, she said. It was after drilling 25 meters on vertical insertion that the water came out from the surface causing hardships and delay, however the rescue team have drilled 50 meters and after 10 to 12 meters of more insertion we were hopeful of reaching those trapped inside.

Leader of Opposition Prem Kumar Dhumal has asked the state government to order an inquiry into the tunnel mishap to ascertain the technical lapses and fix the accountability. He even advised government to take help from army to evacuate labourers.

Dhumal raised question over subletting the construction work to smaller contractors, and blamed them for compromising of safety norms. He asked administration to take action against company executing the project and officials who were supposed to inspect the safety measures.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.