How 41 workers got trapped inside Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand for 17 days

News Network
November 28, 2023

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The 41 workers trapped in an Uttarakhand tunnel for 17 days are likely to be rescued anytime now, as the manual drilling team clearing the debris that blocks their escape is metres away from reaching them. The operation, which faced several setbacks owing to the difficult terrain, is now on the threshold of success. As the country has its fingers crossed and hands joined in prayer, here's a look at how the workers got stuck

The Tunnel

The 4.5 km-tunnel is part of the Centre's ambitious Char Dham project aimed at providing all-weather connectivity between four prominent Hindu shrines in Uttarakhand - Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Also known as Silkyara tunnel, this tunnel is on the route connecting Silyara and Dandalgaon in Uttarkashi district. It is a double-lane tunnel and one of the longest under Char Dham project. About 2.4 km of the under-construction tunnel from the Silkyara side and 1.75 km from the other side has been built. The tunnel, once complete, is expected to cut down travel time by an hour. The project to build the tunnel is being carried out by Hyderabad-based Navayuga Engineering Company Limited, which has reportedly handled such projects before.

What Went Wrong?

On November 12, a section of tunnel between 205 and 260 metres from the Silkyara side collapsed. Workers who were beyond the 260-metre mark were trapped, with their exit blocked. Fortunately for them, the part of the tunnel where they are stuck has power and water supply. While government authorities have maintained that a detailed probe will reveal what led to the collapse, multiple theories are floating around. One of them is that a landslide in the fragile Himalayan region led to the collapse. Several experts have pointed out how hasty development in the ecologically sensitive region was responsible for the incident.

Big Lapses?

There have been claims that the collapse was triggered by a blast carried out by construction teams building the tunnel. SP Sati, a geologist and professor of environmental science at Uttarakhand University of Horticulture and Forestry, said, "The agency will never accept this, but I am certain that a major blast led to this collapse." NDTV had earlier reported that the construction plan for the tunnel mentioned an escape tunnel, but it was never built. International expert Arnold Dix, who has been at the site, was asked if the absence of an escape tunnel contributed to the situation. He said that globally, escape tunnels are put at the end "because normally you don't expect them to collapse". He, however, added a disclaimer that escape tunnels may be built during the course of the project in areas that have specific geological conditions.

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News Network
February 27,2024

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Bengaluru: The ruling Congress in Karnataka won three seats and the BJP one in the Rajya Sabha elections in Karnataka on Tuesday.

Those who were elected to the Upper House are Ajay Maken, G C Chandrasekhar and Syed Naseer Hussain, all belonging to the Congress, and Narayansa K Bhandage of the BJP.

Five candidates were in the fray for the four seats in the elections, including JD(S) contestant D Kupendra Reddy.

The elections were marred by cross-voting. While one of the BJP MLAs, S T Somashekar, voted for the Congress's Maken, the other, A Shivaram Hebbar, abstained.

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News Network
February 19,2024

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Mangaluru, Feb 19: Renowned novelist, playwright and poet Kudlu Thimmappa Gatti passed away on Monday. He was 85.

Popularly known as K T Gatti in Kannada literary world, Thimmappa was born in Kodlu village of in Kasargod district in the south Indian state of Kerala on July 22, 1938. He had relocated to Mangaluru recently. 

A voracious reader from his school days, Gatti started his career as a lecturer in Udupi. Then he travelled to UK in order to obtain diploma in English from Trinity College and Oxford college of Preceptors.

He also worked as a professor in Ethiopia. After his return, he quit teaching and took up farming in Ujire, 'Vanasiri'.

Gatti's first novel in Kannada language, 'Shabdhagalu', was published in 1976. 'Shabdhagalu', before being published as a novel, appeared as a serial in the weekly Kannada magazine, 'Sudha'. K T Gatti's 14 novels had been published as serials in 'Sudha', which is a unique record itself. 

K T Gatti had published more than 50 novels, essays, two poems including one in English and over 50 plays. As many as 30 plays among them, translated to different languages, were written for children and broadcast in Akashavani.

He had also served as President of tenth Dakshina Kannada Sahitya Sammelan and second President of Kasargod Kannada Sahitya Sammelan.

Gatti's literary contributions earned him widespread recognition, including prestigious honours such as the Kendra Sahitya Academy award and Rajyotsava award.

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News Network
March 3,2024

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has announced the replacement of 33 incumbent MPs with fresh candidates in its first list of 195 nominees for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. 

As per this candidate list, five candidates for Delhi include Praveen Khandelwal from Chandani Chowk, dropping two-term MP and former Union Minister Harsh Vardhan. Late BJP leader Sushma Swaraj’s daughter Bansuri Swaraj has been named as the saffron party’s candidate from the New Delhi Lok Sabha constituency, replacing Union Minister Meenakshi Lekhi. 

Some of these leaders have made headlines for their controversial, provocative and anti-Islamic remarks inside and outside Parliament, and the BJP's move to drop them sends a message that the party is taking no chances ahead of an election in which it faces a joint Opposition.

The BJP named Ramvir Singh Bidhuri from South Delhi, dropping Ramesh Bidhuri. From the West Delhi seat, the BJP replaced two-term MP Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma with Kamaljeet Sehrawat. 

In Madhya Pradesh, seven sitting MPs have been replaced. The saffron party named Bharat Singh Kushwaha from Gwalior, replacing MP Vivek Narayan Shejwalker. 

Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has been named from Guna, dropping Krishnapal Singh Yadav. Former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan from Vidisha, currently held by MP Ramakant Bhargava. In Bhopal, Alok Sharma will be the candidate instead of Sadhvi Pragya Singh. 

BJP nominee Lata Wankhede has been named from the Sagar Lok Sabha seat, replacing Rajbahadur Singh. Virendra Singh Khatik will contest from Tikamgarh seat. Party nominee Anita Nagar Singh will contest from Ratlam seat, currently held by BJP MP Guman Singh Damor. 

Besides this, the list also includes 11 seats from Assam, with five new faces and six current MPs. Parimal Suklabaidhya will contest from Silchar, previously held by Rajdeep Roy. Amar Singh Tisso, Bijuli Kalita Medhi, and Ranjit Dutta are contesting from Autonomous District (ST), Gauhati, and Tezpur respectively. 

Union Minister Sarbanand Sonowal is the candidate from Dibrugarh, dropping sitting MP Rameswar Teli.  Four new candidates are named for 11 seats in Chhattisgarh. Senior leader Brijmohan Agrawal from Raipur and Roop Kumari Choudhary from Mahasamund are among them. 

In Gujarat, five incumbents have been replaced for 15 seats. Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will contest from Porbandar, currently held by party MP Rameshbhai Lavjibhai Dhaduk.  In Rajkot, the BJP named Union Minister Parshottam Rupala as the candidate, dropping sitting MP Mohanbhai Kalyanji Kundariya.

Party nominee Rekhaben Hiteshbhai Choudhary will contest from the Banaskantha Lok Sabha seat, currently held by Prabhatbhai Savabhai Patel. Dineshbhai Kidarbhai Makwana replaced three-term MP Kirit Solanki on Ahmedabad West seat. BJP nominee Rajpalsinh Mahendrasinh Jadhav will contest from the Panchmahal seat, dropping sitting MP Ratansinh Magansinh Rathod. 

Moreover, Manish Jaiswal and Samir Oraon are the new faces in Jharkhand. While Jaiswal replaced former Union Minister Jayant Sinha in Hazaribagh, Oraon replaced three-time MP Sudarshan Bhagat in Lohardaga seat. 

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