J&K: 13 trapped as part of under-construction tunnel collapses
At least 13 workers were trapped after a part of an under-construction tunnel collapsed on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway in Jammu and Kashmir's Ramban district late on Thursday night. Officials said that three of the trapped laborers have been rescued. Several machines and trucks were damaged in the incident. Rescue operations started at midnight and are currently on in full swing.
Ramban Deputy Commissioner (DC) Mussarat Islam said that the laborers were employed by Sarla Company, engaged in the construction and auditing of the tunnel. Of the 10 still trapped, five are from West Bengal, two from Nepal, one from Assam, and the other two are locals. Those rescued were admitted to the district hospital in Ramban.
Apart from the Ramban DC, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Dr. Sunil Gupta, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Mohita Sharma, and senior National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) officers have been supervising the rescue operation since midnight. "However, the operation is likely to take time as rock breakers are being used to create an opening," the officials said.
When asked about the well-being of the workers, Islam stated nothing concrete can be said as there was debris all around and chances of suffocation also persist. "The length of the tunnel is around three meters only and whether they are inside or outside is not known," he said, adding that it is a delicate operation as far as the vulnerability is concerned.
Meanwhile, Union minister Jitendra Singh termed the incident "unfortunate." "I'm in constant touch with DC Mussrat Islam. Nearly 10 labor workers were trapped under the debris. Another two were rescued and hospitalized with injuries. Rescue operations going on in full swing. Civil administration and police authorities are monitoring the situation," he said.