Meet 12 rat-hole miners who rescued 41 trapped workers when modern equipment collapsed

News Network
November 29, 2023

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Naseem, Nasir, Firoz, Irshad, Munna, Monu, Wakeel, Rashid, Ankur, Saurabh, Devendra and Jatin. These 12 ‘rat-miners’ from Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh had asked for 36 hours to dig their way to the 41 men stuck inside the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi since November 12. Ultimately, they did the job within 27 hours, leading to triumph for the human spirit in the long tunnel rescue operation.

But there were other heroes too. One was the six-inch pipe that reached the labourers on November 20, bringing them the much-needed communication line and solid food, which improved their morale and did not let the spirits down. The other key factor was that two of the stuck labourers, Gabbar Singh and Shaba Ahmed, took the leadership role inside the tunnel and motivated other workers and ensured that the team-spirit and morale remained high.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Singh and Ahmed during his 15-minute long phone-call to the 41 labourers last night and praised the duo for showing their leadership. “Some university should do a case-study on the leadership showed by you both village men. You motivated your fellow labourers,” the PM said. Singh and Ahmed told Modi how labourers kept themselves busy by hearing songs, doing Yoga and taking long walks inside the tunnel.

Prolonged effort

When the debris collapse in the Silkyara tunnel was reported at 5:30 am on November 12, the Centre had immediately swung into action. The Auger drilling machine was air-lifted to the site and drilling began to get to the labourers. Things were tough till November 20 as only a four-inch pipe was the bridge to the stuck labourers and they had to survive only on dry fruits. But on November 20, a six-inch pipe could reach the labourers in a breakthrough.

This proved to be a lifeline as a communication line could be then established by BSNL with the workers and a camera was sent to get videos of the workers. Solid food was also sent in along with medicines and phone chargers to keep the workers healthy and in high spirits. The workers could use the phone line to speak to the authorities, psychologists deputed at the tunnel as well as their families. This improved the morale of the stuck labourers, authorities said.

This softened the blow that was suffered in the rescue after the Auger machine broke down on November 17. The authorities went by expert advice and the 12 rat-hole miners were called in earlier this week from a Delhi-based firm to carry out manual digging at the site since Monday. The rat-miners had apparently asked for 36 hours to complete the job as two of them manually dug into the debris while the rest of the rat-miners took the debris out of the tunnel.

The rat-miners achieved the breakthrough within 27 hours, ahead of their own target, and finally a welded pipe was inserted last evening to pull the 41 workers out. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) men went in to the bring the workers out of the pipe and the entire process was completed within 45 minutes after the youngest worker came out at 7:50 pm. Ultimately, the ‘whole of government’ approach from the central and state in mission mode, and the rat-hole miners did wonders.

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News Network
February 22,2024

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Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has slammed the heads of Muslim states for failing to cut their relations with the Israeli occupation regime.

During a meeting with the participants at the 40th International Qur'an Competition in Tehran on Thursday, the Leader called on Muslim countries to openly express their opposition to Israel, sever ties with the regime and cut off support for it.

Ayatollah Khamenei also called on people in Muslim countries to press their governments to take stronger action on Gaza.

Ayatollah Khamenei described the Palestinians' plight in the Gaza Strip as the most important issue of the Muslim world today, adding, "Certainly, the Muslim world is mourning for Gaza."

The Leader emphasized that the resistance forces in Palestine and Gaza are acting in accordance with the Holy Qur'an and are standing against the enemy, but wondered whether Muslim countries and their leaders were implementing the Qur'anic teachings regarding the Gaza situation.

Ayatollah Khamenei said the people of Palestine will achieve a victory through God's assistance, noting that the Muslim world would witness the destruction of the "Zionist cancerous tumor" by God's grace.

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News Network
March 1,2024

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At least four people are said to be injured after a low-intensity blast occurred at The Rameshwaram Cafe in Brookefield in east Bengaluru on March 1, 2024.

Fire department officials said they received a call at 1.09 p.m. Initially suspected to be a cylinder blast, fire department officials have now dismissed this, and the source of the blast is yet unknown.

“It is very clear that the blast has not happened because of any cylinder or any other kitchen-related equipment as none of it was near the blast site. All our equipment is at the back of the restaurant. There is only a handwash area with a sink, dustbin and a stand to collect plates. Some people told us that someone came and kept a bag there and went and the blast happened after that. We have found a bag that exploded at the spot,” Divya Raghavendra, Managing Director and founder, The Rameshwaram Cafe, said.

Three of our staff members and one customer have been injured and they’re being treated at a hospital. The doctors have told us that they’re out of danger. The police are further investigating the matter and we are providing full support. We’ve already given them access to all the CCTV footage,” she added.

Speaking to media persons near the restaurant, Shabarish, an eye witness said, “There was a loud sound a little after 1 p.m. which must have been audible up to a kilometre away. There was a lot of smoke around the restaurant. When I went and checked, a few customers and employees were injured and bleeding. We sent them to hospital in the ambulance.”

Sachin Lamani, a security guard with The Rameshwaram Cafe at Brookfield told The Hindu that he was just outside the cafe when he heard a loud explosion at around 1:15 pm. As he rushed inside, he saw smoke and fire near the wash basin area, he said.

“There was a big explosion-like sound and there was a burnt smell. I don’t know how the blast occurred. I saw many people injured and helped them rush to a hospital,” he said. The cafe was filled with people as it was a Friday and lunch time. “I did not see how the fire occurred. But it was not a cylinder blast or an electric short-circuit as there were no cylinders or any equipment near the wash basin,” he added.

Another eye witness, Suresh, who was opposite the cafe when the blast happened, said he heard a huge explosion sound and rushed to the cafe. “There was dense smoke and none of us could go in. It took us over 10 minutes to get inside the cafe. We saw at least eight people injured,” he said.

The eatery is very popular among locals and usually bustling with people during lunch hour.
 

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News Network
February 28,2024

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The Congress high command on Wednesday, February 28, swiftly deployed former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar to Shimla to engage in negotiations with party members, addressing the imminent risk Himachal CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu's government collapsing.

Sources revealed that Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge consulted with former party chief Rahul Gandhi and General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra regarding the developments in Himachal Pradesh.

Hours after six Congress MLAs voted in favour of the BJP candidate in the Rajya Sabha polls in Himachal Pradesh, Kharge swung into action to pacify the disgruntled lawmakers and sent Hooda and Shivakumar to the state. They are expected to reach Himachal Pradesh soon.

They have been asked to engage with the disgruntled MLAs, including six MLAs, who are learnt to be "disappointed" with the working style of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and are seeking his replacement.

The Congress government in the state faces an existential threat as six MLAs have crossed sides and are reportedly in communication with the BJP.

Adding to the Congress' woes, former state chief minister Virbhadra Singh's son Vikramaditya Singh also announced his resignation from the cabinet and said he has already spoken to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

Meanwhile, the Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha Speaker suspended 15 BJP MLAs over 'misconduct' and adjourned the session.

The approval of the state budget is pending in the assembly, and with the support of Congress rebels, the BJP is obstructing its passage while seeking a division of votes.

In a significant setback for the ruling Congress in Himachal Pradesh, the BJP clinched victory in the state's sole Rajya Sabha seat on Tuesday. BJP candidate Harsh Mahajan defeated Congress stalwart Abhishek Manu Singhvi, setting the stage for a potential no-confidence motion in the assembly.

The contest ended in a tie, with both the Congress and BJP candidates securing 34 votes each, indicating that at least six Congress MLAs voted against the party. The winner was determined through a draw of lots, officials confirmed.

In the 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly, the Congress holds 40 seats, while the BJP has 25 legislators. Three seats are occupied by independents.

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