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The rescue of trapped workers at Uttarkashi-Need prayers and Divine intervention
After working tirelessly for days and nights under hostile conditions the teams were pleased when the operation was about to be successful and mission being accomplished and goal achieved. But then man proposes and sometimes God disposes, His ways best known only to Him. The only solace right now we have is that all workers seem to be healthy and kicking as no major health complaint was reported
Who says Miracles don’t happen. The most incredible thing about miracles is that they do happen –there is in life an element of elfin coincidence. A miracle is, a supernatural interference of God in crisis situation. Out of difficulties grow miracles. Miracles happen every day, change your perception of what a miracle is and you will see them all around you, once all struggle is grasped, miracles are possible. A blessing is still God’s Power, but it flows through proper, natural channels. Blessings, prayers and miracles are required to save the trapped workers at Uttarkashi. After working tirelessly for days and nights under hostile conditions the teams were pleased when the operation was about to be successful and mission being accomplished and goal achieved. But then man proposes and sometimes God disposes, His ways best known only to Him. The only solace right now we have is that all workers seem to be healthy and kicking as no major health complaint was reported.
Having spent 35 years of my life in Dehra Doon, Uttarakhand, close to the ravines of Garhwal hills, the Shivalik range, I am quite aware of the terrain of this region. Anyone who had been on Char Dham Yatra would definitely recall the rugged, rough, risky terrain they travelled through and the silent prayers they uttered N number of times during their pilgrimage. Char Dham Yatra involves visiting four sacred Hindu shrines located in the Himalayas. It is believed that one should complete the Char Dham Yatra in clockwise direction, Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnathand Badrinath. The yatra involves trekking through challenging terrains including high altitudes and mountainous regions and pilgrims experience altitude sickness. Whether you are travelling by bus, by car or by helicopter service the risk and danger in these Himalayan ravines is inevitable. Divine intervention is a must till you reach back your destination.
Lying in the upper Himalayas, Uttarkashi contains within itself varying geographic environments ranging from snow free valleys and outer hills to the high peaks with perpetual snow and glaciers. The terrain runs into series of ridges and valleys. Each ridge leads to another coiling up in seemingly unending chains. Most of the terrain is mountainous consisting of high -rise ridges, hills and plateaus and flat pieces of land are rare. Under such unfriendly, harsh and exhausting conditions and ‘stony’ surroundings do these people work whether it’s the NDRF, DRDO, IAF, Army Personnel or people directly involved with the project from top to bottom. The weather God is impartial to each and every one irrespective of their rank and file.
The tunnel that collapsed was part of the Rs. 12,000 crores, infra structure plan to improve connectivity between Char Dham sites. A portion of the under-construction tunnel between Silkyara and Dandalgaon on the Brahmakhal-Yamunotri National Highway collapsed at 5. 30 am on November 12 trapping 41 workers. The tunnel was being constructed for the benefit of Char Dham pilgrims as it would cut their travel time by around an hour, avoiding steep mountainous and narrow roads prone to accidents and landslides. The initial 65 days of the annual Char Dham Yatra season in Uttara Khand saw the deaths of 149 pilgrims, since the beginning of the yatra season, 2023. Last year 300 pilgrims lost their life, the highest in Char Dham Yatra so far, some of the deaths were due to health ailments and cardiac arrest.
The project enhances safety and security of pilgrims and strengthens the military operation in border areas. It facilitates disaster management and relief operation in emergencies. The project, spans almost 1,000 Kilometers through mountains and ridges. The project aims at construction of4,531 km long two- lane, Bi-directional tunnel along with 328 m approach road with escape passage. The workers remained trapped, behind over 50 meters of debris inside the collapsed tunnel in a 2km built portion, which is complete, including concrete work that provided safety to the workers. Everybody was hoping that the drilling operation reached the end and finally there will be light at the end of the tunnel. But Alas, It, did not happen.
Various agencies working on different back up routes, under one umbrella ‘The Rescue’, were advised not to rush the drilling process and work hand in hand with Mr. Arnold Dix, president of German based International Tunnelling and Under-ground Space Association, widely recognized as the world’s leading expert in these matters, in case they encounter any snag in drilling. Multiple coordinated plans, are being worked out which Mr. Dix calls ‘doors’ to evacuate the trapped men. As the workers remained trapped behind over 50 meters, of debris inside the collapsed tunnel, with multiple snags being developed in between, the govt has left no stone unturned to ensure that the workers are taken out safely. Apart from rescue, Uninterrupted Supply of air, water, food and constant contact with the workers is the top priority of the team. The army has joined the inevitable manual drilling of the last 15 to 20 meters, as the American equipment with an auger machine had totally gone beyond repair.
In Puranas, Uttarakhand was the ancient term for the Central Indian Himalayas. It’s peaks and valleys were known as Svarga Loka: a temporary abode of the righteous, and the source of Ganges. At that time, it was inhabited by rishis and sadhus. Uttarakhand is known as DEV BHUMI because of its number of Hindu pilgrims cites. It is believed that Sage Vyasa wrote The Mahabharata there, since The Pandavas are believed to have travelled and camped in that region. It is the source of two holy rivers, The Ganga and The Yamuna. Adi Shankaracharya, the 8th century Vedic Scholar, is said to have renovated the route of the Himalayan Char Dham. He was not only a wandering sanyasiof the highest order but the founder of pilgrimage tourism in India.
Such sacred Deva Bhumi would certainly support human effort in rescuing the trapped workers. It is certainly, some miracle and a blessing that neither the workers nor the rescuers or the public, got hurt in the collapse. Despite excellent engineering, technical knowhow, best brains and best modern equipment, sometimes things go wrong and exactly this is what had happened in Silkyara tunnel collapse. With the entire country praying for them, it is
The Man, The Machine, The Miracle and The Divine intervention that we need to save each and every trapped worker.
All of us can together join and pray God to be with every one waiting to be rescued, keep them safe and bless them to be healthy. We are just few hours away from this Herculean task being accomplished. There, are millions praying for their safe return and Prayers Never Go Unanswered.