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Silkyara tunnel rescue operation keeps homestays, hotels in Uttarkashi busy

A majority of top state and government officials have been staying for the past few days at Anantam Residency, one such hotel in Bramhkhal village that is about 12 kilometres from the Silkyara tunnel site

PTI Uttarkashi Published 28.11.23, 06:18 PM
Rescue officials during an operation to extract the 41 workers trapped inside the collapsed Silkyara Tunnel, in Uttarkashi district.

Rescue officials during an operation to extract the 41 workers trapped inside the collapsed Silkyara Tunnel, in Uttarkashi district. File picture

Homestays and hotels near the Silkyara tunnel site, where Char Dham pilgrims usually stay between April and September, have been hosting a different category of visitors for the last few days.

Officials from multiple agencies have been camping at these hotels after a rescue operation was launched to evacuate 41 labourers trapped in the collapsed tunnel.

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On Tuesday, rescue workers appeared close to breaking through the 60-metre stretch of rubble of the collapsed tunnel.

Most of these hotels and homestays in Uttarkashi are located on the National Highway-94 connecting Gangotri and Yamunotri.

A majority of top state and government officials have been staying for the past few days at Anantam Residency, one such hotel in Bramhkhal village that is about 12 kilometres from the Silkyara tunnel site.

On this 12 km stretch of the national highway, hotels and homestays in at least 10 villages of the Uttarkashi district are being used by officials of multi-agency rescue teams. "The six months from April to September are good time for our earnings. During the winter, we often sit idle but the rescue operation has given us some work," said Manish Rawat, owner of Monal Hotel in Brahmkhal. ONGC officials, who are part of the rescue work, are staying in Rawat's hotel.

"My hotel has five rooms and all of them are occupied by ONGC officers. They are staying here for the past few days," Rawat said. Soon after the tunnel collapse on November 12, the rescue operation began, with rescuers, experts, government officials and media persons rushing to the site. According to Neetish Ramola, owner of Anantam hotel, till November 12, just two rooms were occupied. "But suddenly, the demands increased and all 18 rooms got occupied," Ramola said. The officials of the tunnel construction companies Navayuga and NHIDCL came first for the stay at Anantam and later officers from state and central governments booked the rooms. Among those prominent who are staying in this hotel included Deputy Secretary PMO, Magesh Ghediyal; former advisor to PM, Bhaskar Khulbe; NHIDCL Managing Director Mahmood Ahmad; NHIDCL Director Anshu Manish Khalkho; Uttarakhand Secretary Neeraj Khairwal; Ministry of Road Transport & Highways Secretary Anurag Jain and international tunnelling expert Arnold Dix.

The work of construction of the tunnel was started four years ago to decrease the distance of 28 kilometres to 4.5 kilometres between Gangotri and Yamunotri.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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