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
March 3,2024

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Udupi, Mar 3: In a shocking incident, a home alone youth was mercilessly shot dead by unidentified miscreants under mysterious circumstances at Hanehalli near Barkur in Brahmavar taluk of Udupi district. 

The victim has been identified as Krishna (36), who was living alone in his home at Hanehalli. 

It is learnt that on at around 9:30 pm on Saturday, March 2, firing sound was heard by the local residents. However, they reportedly thought it to be a sound from firecracker and chose to ignore. 

Today morning (March 3), when one of the local residents went to Krishna’s house the incident came to light. Krishna was found dead with a bullet wound. 

Krishna was working in Manipal. It is learnt that he was shot dead while having his dinner. 

Udupi Superintendent of police Dr Arun K and team conducted the spot investigation. 

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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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News Network
February 19,2024

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Chennai, Feb 19: The Tamil Nadu government on Monday presented its budget for the year 2024-25, premising the exercise on the "7 grand Tamil dream," that included social justice and women's welfare at the core.

Finance Minister Thangam Thennarasu presented the budget and made a slew of announcements.

This included the 'Kalaignarin Kanavu Illam,' a housing scheme named after the late DMK patriarch and former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi. As per the scheme, 8 lakh concrete houses will be constructed in rural areas across the state to make it 'hut-free' by 2030, he said.

Social justice, welfare of the marginalised, making Tamil youth global achievers were among the 7 goals, Thennarasu said in his budget speech.

Among others, he announced allocating Rs 300 crore in budget for civic amenities including roads for areas nearby city corporations.

Thennarasu said the state has made very significant progress in poverty reduction through its welfare schemes.

The NITI Aayog has said that people below poverty line in Tamil Nadu was only about 2.2 per cent, he added.

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