Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami Wednesday met the workers rescued from the Silkyara tunnel and kept under medical observation at a hospital in Chinyalisaur and handed over Rs 1 lakh to each of them.
He also spoke to their family members waiting outside the hospital. They thanked him for safely evacuating the trapped workers after almost 17 days.
In the hospital, Dhami went from bed to bed speaking to each one of the rescued workers and handing over cheques to them.
The chief minister also announced Rs 50,000 reward for each of the rescue workers who went inside the evacuation passage and helped the trapped labourers come out of the tunnel.
"I am no less happy about their (workers) evacuation than their families. My Diwali, Igas or Dev Deepavali came yesterday as they were evacuated," the Uttarakhand chief minister told PTI earlier. Dhami said the workers were like his family. "After all they work for us...for the country." He thanked the local deity Baba Baukhnag, the multiple agencies involved in the huge operation that lasted 17 days, national and international experts and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his constant support and guidance for the successful completion of the challenging task.
"I have faced several challenges during my tenures as chief minister but this one was the toughest," he said.
Talking about the various hitches and hurdles that hampered the rescue efforts, he said the prime minister's daily monitoring and support in providing all help needed in terms of the big machines gave him great strength.
Praising the trapped workers for showing exemplary patience, the Uttarakhand chief minister said assurance from them that they were alright and ready to wait while the rescue agencies did their work also strengthened his resolve to have them evacuated safely.
Dhami reiterated the state government has decided to review all tunnel projects.
"There are several such projects underway in the state. We have decided to have them reviewed. We need development but there should be a balance between ecology and economy," the chief minister said. The rescue workers on Tuesday evening pulled out all the 41 workers who got trapped after a portion of the Silkyara tunnel, part of the Centre's ambitious Char Dham project, collapsed due to a landslide on November 12.
They will likely be taken to AIIMS-Rishikesh before being allowed to go back to their homes.
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