Updated February 7th, 2024 at 16:29 IST

Silkyara-Barkot tunnel collapse in Uttarakhand: No previous incidents in 2019, says Gadkari

The collapse of a portion of Silkyara-Barkot tunnel on November 12, 2023, trapped 41 workers, sparking a challenging rescue operation that ended on November 28.

Reported by: Business Desk
Uttarakhand Silkyara-Barkot tunnel | Image:Reuters
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Silkyara-Barkot tunnel: Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari informed Parliament today, February 7, that there was no collapse or cavity formation in the Silkyara-Barkot tunnel back in 2019, shedding light on the recent tunnel collapse incident that occurred last year.

The collapse of a portion of the under-construction Silkyara-Barkot tunnel on November 12, 2023, trapped 41 workers, sparking a challenging rescue operation that concluded on November 28. Responding to queries in Rajya Sabha, Gadkari stated, "There was no collapse/cavity formation in the same part of the tunnel in 2019."

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Gadkari emphasised that the rescue operation was successfully executed without any injuries or fatalities. He highlighted the constitution of an expert committee comprising specialists from various sectors to investigate the collapse.

"The committee has submitted a preliminary report after visiting the site, and instructions have been issued to the concerned authorities to resume the project with necessary precautions," Gadkari added.

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The Silkyara-Barkot tunnel, a crucial part of the 900-kilometer Char Dham Yatra All Weather Road project, aims to enhance connectivity to the four pilgrimage sites in Uttarakhand. Constructed by the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL), the tunnel is expected to bolster travel efficiency to prominent Hindu shrines in the region.

Expert Committee investigates Silkyara Tunnel collapse

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An expert committee has been formed to probe the incident. The collapse, which trapped 41 workers, prompted an intensive rescue operation, culminating in the workers' safe evacuation.

Gadkari affirmed that there were no previous instances of collapse or cavity formation in the tunnel's section in 2019. He underscored the committee's role in assessing the collapse and ensuring the implementation of necessary safety measures.

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(With PTI inputs.)

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Published February 7th, 2024 at 16:29 IST