Days after the glacier burst in Uttarakhand, agencies continued their rescue work on Friday by clearing muck from the tunnel in NTPC’s hydel power project in Tapovan, Chamoli, to rescue about 35 workers trapped inside.
As of now, there has been no breakthrough because of heavy boulders and muck beyond 100m in the tunnel, said officials.
Rescue workers have so far recovered 35 bodies of which 10 have been identified. They are yet to find bodies of about 169 persons out of the total 204 missing in last Sunday’s disaster.
State director general of police Ashok Kumar said, “The rescue workers are putting in all efforts to clear the muck from the tunnel but are unable to make any progress. We are failing to get beyond 100m as the heavy muck inside fills up the area as soon as we clear it. Rescue workers tried to get into the tunnel by drilling inside on Thursday, but to no avail.”
On Thursday, the rescue operation had to be stopped for about half an hour after the water level in the Dhauliganga river rose to about one and a half feet. Officials said that it was likely that the water level rose due to depositing of sediments upstream, blocking the water flow.
“A team of rescue workers and experts went to check it on Thursday but couldn’t get a clear picture. They will go again on Friday for a recce to know what has happened,” said Kumar.
Earlier on Thursday, chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat approved the plan of rehabilitating about 50 families from villages of disaster prone areas in four hill districts — Tehri Garhwal, Chamoli, Uttarakashi and Bageshwar.
He also sanctioned ₹15 lakh for installation of earthquake detecting sensors for the operation of earthquake warning system with the help of IIT Roorkee.
State Governor Baby Rani Maurya visited Tapovan to assess the ground situation and rescue work. Later on, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Koshiyari also flew down to Uttarakhand and met the chief minister and other officials to assess the current situation of rescue work.