On the night of November 28, a collective exhale echoed throughout the nation as all forty-one workers trapped inside the under-construction Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi since November 12 were safely extracted. This remarkable 17-day rescue operation, marked by technical challenges, anxiety, and hope, saw the collaboration of various agencies and professionals from both domestic and international fronts.
The expansive effort, orchestrated by union and state governments, achieved success on an unprecedented scale. Among the unsung heroes was Delhi-based resident Surendra Rajput, previously involved in a 2006 rescue operation in Haryana. In that incident, he played a pivotal role in saving a young boy named Prince from a borewell.
For the Uttarakhand tunnel rescue, Rajput crafted a pulley trolley crucial for removing debris from the collapsed tunnel’s rescue pipe in the final phase of the operation. Arriving on November 18, he joined forces with rescue agencies, drawing on his past experience. His dedication was recognized, given his prior commendable rescue efforts and awards from the Haryana government.
Rajput’s expertise proved instrumental as he designed a pulley trolley for rat miners, facilitating the removal of rubble from the tunnel. Notably, his past feat involved digging a 10-foot tunnel to rescue Prince, who had fallen into a borewell in 2006.
The 41 trapped workers, rescued on November 28, underwent medical assessments before emerging from the tunnel. Union Minister General VK Singh, Bhaskar Khulbe, Lieutenant General Harpal Singh, and Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami were actively involved in boosting the spirits of the workers during the final stages of the operation.
The rescue mission, initiated on November 12, faced challenges when debris blocked the tunnel, necessitating the installation of pipes for sustenance. Communication devices maintained regular contact with the workers, and their relatives provided updates on the ongoing rescue efforts.
Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami remained apprised of the operation’s progress. CM Dhami personally visited the scene and communicated with the trapped workers, while PM Modi spoke with them shortly after their safe evacuation. The successful operation showcased the resilience and collaboration of various entities, with individuals like Surendra Rajput contributing significantly to the positive outcome.