‘Finally, God heard us’: Families of 3 workers rescued from Uttarkashi tunnel heave a sigh of relief


PTI, Nov 28, 2023, 9:21 PM IST

A worker rescued from the collapsed tunnel is welcomed. (credit: ANI)

Ranchi: In Khirabeda, relief and happiness writ large on the faces of the family members of three workers trapped in the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand after the news of their rescue reached this nondescript village on the outskirts of Ranchi on Tuesday evening.

A paralysed Shravan Bediya, 55, whose only son Rajendra was trapped there, was seen in a wheelchair outside his hut with some relief on his face after prolonged desperation.

Besides 22-year-old Rajendra, two others from the village — Sukhram and Anil, both in their early 20s, were trapped inside the tunnel for 17 days.

Anil’s brother Sunil, who was camping outside the tunnel in Uttarkashi, told PTI over the phone in a choked voice, ”Finally, God heard us. My brother could be rescued. I am with him in an ambulance on the way to hospital.” Asked which hospital, he said it was not clear to them but his brother’s condition was stable.

For the last one week, an anxious Sunil was living in the place his brother was staying along with the 40 other workers who were stuck inside the tunnel.

Sunil, who also works in such projects, said this was the most difficult time of his life, with none left to tend to his old parents who were in a state of shock.

”I could somehow arrange the funds to travel to Uttarkashi,” he said.

Here in Khirabeda, the mood was celebratory with villagers distributing ‘laddoos’.

Sukhram’s paralysed mother Parvati, who was inconsolable since she found out about the disaster, was too happy to express her feelings.

In Anil’s house, where his grieving mother has not cooked anything for the last two weeks and the family surviving on whatever food their neighbours were providing, villagers gathered as the news of the rescue was shown on TV.

The rescue efforts began on November 12 when a portion of the under-construction tunnel on Uttarakhand’s Char Dham route collapsed following a landslide, cutting off the exit for the workers inside. Sukhram’s sister Khushboo said that everyone in their village was celebrating.

According to Ram Kumar Bediya, a villager, a group of 13 people, all between 18 and 23, had left Khirabeda on November 1 to work at the tunnel.

When the disaster struck, three of them were working inside.

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