Rescue teams on Saturday began widening a hole drilled into an approach tunnel on the way to the possible location of over 30 people trapped inside a sludge-choked tunnel of the NTPC’s Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project after a flash flood ravaged the area on Sunday.
“We are working under a 3-pronged strategy to reach to those trapped in the tunnel. The hole we drilled yesterday is being widened to 1 feet so as to reach a camera and a pipe inside the silt flushing tunnel where the trapped are said to be located,” general manager of the NTPC project, RP Ahirwal, told PTI.
A hole with a diameter of 1 feet will help send in a camera to ascertain their location and a pipe to flush out accumulated water from the tunnel, Ahirwal said.
The other two parts of the strategy are clearing the desilting basin of the NTPC barrage through which muck is constantly flowing into the tunnels and restoring the flow of the Dhauliganga to the right which has tilted to the left after the flash flood hampering the sludge clearing operation, he said.
Describing the rescue of people as a priority, he said the NTPC has put more than 100 of its scientists on the job.
Asked if an attempt could be made to send rescuers to the possible location of those trapped in the tunnel through the hole, the GM said it will need to be widened further. “More than 100 of our scientists are on the job. They are devising strategies and having them implemented,” Ahirwal said.
CWC conducting simulation studies on new glacial lake
The Central Water Commission (CWC) is conducting simulation studies on the artificial lake formed in the upper stretches of the Rishiganga river after the catastrophic Uttarakhand flood early this week, and also examining the possibility of carrying out a controlled blast to drain out the water.
CWC chairman Saumitra Haldar on Saturday said studies are being conducted keeping in the mind the forecast of the India Meteorological Dept (IMD) the area could receive a rainfall of 1 cm and snowfall of 10 cm on February 15 and 16.
The CWC is also examining possibilities of what can be done if the water to rises to "critical" level.
Meawhile, the SDRF has visited the lake formed near Raini village and informed it is not a danger zone, Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar said on Saturday.