Having failed in reaching close to labourers trapped in the tunnel of NTPC’s hydro power project in Tapovan area of Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district even six days after sludge choked the tunnel following a flash flood, rescue teams continued removal of slush in Intake Adit tunnel and drilling inside silt filtration tunnel passing 12 metres below the tunnel on Saturday. More than 30 people are feared trapped in the tunnel.
No body was recovered on Saturday, and confirmed causalities in the flash food so far are 38. More than 166 people are still missing, officials said.
On Saturday, Garhwal Commissioner Ravinath Raman held a meeting with officials of the NTPC, the Army, ITBP and NDRF to discuss challenges in the rescue operation and the progress on the ongoing work.
According to a release from the state government, NTPC authorities have stated that they are likely to get some information about the situation inside the tunnel in 10 to 12 hours.
An NTPC official said that drilling up to the depth of 12 metre was completed but there was not enough space to lower a camera through that. Hence, another heavy machine has been pressed into service today to increase the diameter of drilled area up to 30 cm.
District Magistrate Swati S Bhadauriya said that drilling for rescue operation inside the tunnel was continuing and NDRF personnel on Saturday started looking for people who went missing near the barrage of Tapovan power project site.
DIG (Law and Order) Neelesh Anand Bharney said 14 FIRs have been lodged in connection with the missing people.
A team of State Disaster Response Force inspected the temporary lake formed at a height of 3,600 m – about 6 km upstream of Raini village. With villagers downstream fearing another flash flood due to formation of the lake, the SDRF team has developed a manual early warning system by deploying teams of personnel in Pang, Tapovan and Raini villages. These teams will alert villages by satellite phones and public address system if any emergency situation arises, officials said.