Uttarakhand Tunnel Rescue: One of the Trapped Worker’s Pregnant Wife is Expected to Deliver in a Week’s Time
Amongst the 41 workers who are trapped inside the tunnel in Uttarkashi is Akhilesh Singh, whose wife is pregnant with their first child. She is unaware of her husband being stuck for the past 12 days.
Brijendra Dubey 22 Nov 2023 1:58 PM GMT
Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh
It is Nidhi Singh’s first pregnancy and the 25-year-old is expected to deliver her baby in a week’s time.
But rather than excitement, there is an unsaid tension at her house in Gharwaspur village in Mirzapur district of Uttar Pradesh.
Her husband, 27-year-old Akhilesh Singh, is among the 41 workers who are trapped inside a tunnel in Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand, about 1,200 kilometres away. It is the 12th day of the traumatic experience for the workers who got trapped when an under construction tunnel collapsed on Diwali morning on November 12. Rescue operations are underway.
“The news of Akhilesh being trapped in the tunnel has not been passed on to Nidhi. We fear that it can traumatise her and affect the health of the mother and the child,” a worried Krishna Kumar Singh, Akhilesh’s cousin, told Gaon Connection.
“We are praying for the workers to come out safely as soon as possible. We feel guilty for hiding the news from his wife but we will have to hold on,” the helpless cousin added.
Akhilesh Singh has been working as a supervisor with the Hyderabad-based Navayuga Engineering Company Limited, which hired workers for the construction of the tunnel. He is paid a monthly salary of Rs 20,000, informed the family members.
“We got the news on the internet that Akhilesh is amongst the workers who are trapped in the tunnel,” said Ramesh Singh, Akhilesh’s father.
“The news spoiled our Diwali but we put on a happy face to look as usual for our bahu [daughter-in-law]. We don’t want her to feel any trauma in this condition,” he added.
Some family members of Akhilesh’s family have already reached the site in Uttarkashi and are waiting with bated breath outside the mouth of the tunnel. Pritpal Singh, Akhilesh’s younger brother, and his uncle are waiting at the entrance of the tunnel to meet him.
Anju Devi, Akhilesh’s mother, who was having sleepless nights since she got the news of her son stuck inside the tunnel, is now slightly assured ever since she saw the visuals of her son doing well inside the tunnel.
“My brother saw Akhilesh yesterday on a screen after they sent the camera inside. He told my son that he is his mama [maternal uncle] and that Akhilesh should face this challenge like a braveheart lion. Akhilesh also replied that he will fight like a lion and will come out soon,” the 46-year-old mother told Gaon Connection.
Yesterday, the rescue team sent an endoscopy camera inside the tunnel which lit up the mood of the rescuers as well as the family members of the trapped workers. The visuals confirmed that the workers are in good health and are being provided with essential supplies, including food and medicines.
Earlier, a Gaon Connection report mentioned that Syed Ata Hasnain, a member of the National Disaster Management Authority stated that there was sufficient water and oxygen inside the tunnel and ample space was available for the workers to move around — an information that came as a relief for the anxious family members, some of whom are waiting outside the tunnel.
Satish Gadi, a Gurugram-based physician, who has retired from the Indian Army and has served as the Chief Medical Director of the Indian Railways mentioned that if the basic nutritional requirements are being met, their chances of survival are ‘very high’.
The senior physician said that following the rescue of these workers, which is likely to take a couple of days, it should be ensured that they are repatriated with their families at the earliest.
“Once the medical examination of these workers is thoroughly done and they are deemed fit to carry on with their lives, they will desperately need to be united with their loved ones,” Gadi said.
“No amount of therapy or counselling can soothe them as much as the need to be with their families. Also, to my mind their families are undergoing a greater trauma by being in the blind about the condition of their breadwinners,” he added.
Meanwhile, Om Prakash Singh, the 53-year-old uncle of Akhilesh told Gaon Connection that the family was hopeful of the latter’s return.
“Once we saw the camera visuals, we are rest assured that the government and the rescuers are doing their best to get the workers out. We hope to see Akhilesh soon,” he said.
The tunnel in Uttarkashi is being constructed by the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited.
The primary purpose of the tunnel is to connect Yamunotri and Gangotri valley in Uttarakhand to facilitate travelling during pilgrim season. Once built, the tunnel passing beneath the Radi pass is to reduce the 25.6 kilometres long road journey to 4.5 kilometres through the tunnel.
The location of the trapped workers is at a distance of about 200 metres from the mouth of the tunnel. The plan to rescue the workers from the tunnel involves drilling a small but stable horizontal or a vertical passage inside the tunnel to facilitate their safe exit.
A landslide on November 12 had caused a section of tunnel to collapse and the debris blocked the entrance of the tunnel leading to the workers getting trapped inside. The 4.5 kilometres long tunnel was being constructed between Silkyara and Dandalgaon on the Brahmakal-Yamunotri national highway as part of the Char Dham project.
Rescue operations are underway and as per the latest news reports, the rescue team has been able to drill 39 metres into the tunnel.