At least one of the 41 workers who were trapped in the collapsed Uttarakhand tunnel for 17 days last year has returned to work as construction on the tunnel has resumed, according to reports on Tuesday.
One of the workers stuck in the Silkyara road tunnel under construction, Manik Talukdar, is a Bengali worker who told the Times of India he was “on my way back” to his underground job.
“It was a fateful thing, but that doesn’t mean we should stop working out of fear,” he told the newspaper.
The majority of the men who were trapped were migrant laborers who had traveled hundreds of kilometers from their place of residence to work on the Uttarakhand tunnel.
Thanks to a small tube that provided them with food, water, and air while they waited, the men managed to survive in the tunnel after it collapsed on November 12.
However, Talukdar dismissed concerns about another collapse. “We are aware of the risks involved in our job,” he added.
Following numerous obstacles in the rescue effort, such as falling rocks, worries about additional cave-ins, and malfunctioning drilling equipment, military engineers and experienced miners manually excavated the last section using a method known as the “rat-hole technique.”
Inside a metal pipe big enough to fit one man, a three-person team labored at the rock face, the rescuer in front digging and passing materials to the person behind him.
It was almost two months after the collapse when the transport ministry approved the work to start again last week.