Strong winds, shooting stones hampering rescue operation: DC Ramban
Srinagar: The body of a labourer has been retrieved from the site of a tunnel cave-in along NH-44, while no contact could yet be established with the remaining nine labourers trapped inside the tunnel.
The cave-in took place some 30 to 40 meters inside an under-construction tunnel (T3) near Khooni Nallah of Makerkote in Ramsu in Ramban district along the national highway.
The tunnel is being constructed to bypass the landslide and shooting stones-prone Panthal area.
The mishap took place at about 10:15 PM Thursday night as the workers were inside the tunnel. Immediately after the mishap, two workers were rescued in injured condition and were evacuated to the hospital.
“The company, Sarla Constructions, which had hired these labourers, reported ten of their workers missing late Thursday night,” Deputy Commissioner (DC) Ramban, Musarrat Islam, told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the rescue operations have been seriously hampered due to strong winds and occasional shooting stones. “We have been able to dig out one body as of now, while nine others still remain trapped,” Islam told Kashmir Reader.
Islam maintained that despite the inclement weather, and the difficult terrain, the rescue operation has not been stalled. “We are hopeful we will be able to rescue the trapped workers,” he said.
The construction company has identified the missing workers as Jadhav Roy, Gautam Roy, Sudhir Roy, Deepak Roy, and Parimal Roy from West Bengal; Shiva Chouhan from Assam; Nawaraj Choudhry and Kushi Ram from Nepal; and two locals, Muzaffar and Ishrat.
The retrieved body is of one of the workers from West Bengal, but there has been no official confirmation on the identity of the deceased.
Meanwhile, the army, the NDRF, police, and some other agencies are involved in the rescue operation, which is being overlooked by senior officials from the police and the civil administration of the Jammu division.
“It is a difficult rescue operation, as it is rocks that need to be cut through to reach inside the tunnel. The operation is being carried out meticulously,” a police official from the Ramban area said.
Meanwhile, some vehicles and machinery parked right outside the tunnel have also been damaged in the mishap.
Union Minister Jitendra Singh has called the incident “unfortunate” as he tweeted the details of the incident.