Rescue operation for 35 trapped people inside the Tapovan tunnel continued unabated through the last night in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The flash flood had hit the power project at Tapovan on Sunday morning. According to news agency ANI, 34 bodies have been recovered and around 170 people are still missing.
On Thursday morning, the rescue teams started a drilling operation to peep into the 'slush flushing tunnel' 12 to 13 meters below the tunnel, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) tweeted.
"Drilling operations started by rescue teams at 0200 AM to peep into the slush flushing tunnel 12 to 13 meters below. This is being done from the tunnel where rescue teams are presently taking out slush," ITBP tweeted.
"The teams through boring operation will try to see whether the slush flushing tunnel below is clear of slush or otherwise to see chances of trapped persons being rescued from there," it said in another tweet.
After the digging and excavation works, jawans of the army, ITBP, NDRF and SDRF, who are engaged in the rescue works, have managed to open a sizeable portion of the tunnel. But the presence of heavy silt inside the tunnel has slowed down the rescue work. Around 35 people are feared trapped inside the tunnel.
Rescuers are also using special gadgets in the search to speed up the rescue operation inside the tunnel. However, no contact has been established yet with the trapped people inside.
The about 1,500-metre tunnel has become the focal point of rescue operations in this disaster. The disaster was triggered after a portion of the Nanda Devi glacier burst through its banks in Chamoli district on Sunday, leading to an avalanche and a deluge that ripped through the Alaknanda river system in the upper reaches of the ecologically fragile Himalayas.
According to the state government's data, nearly 200 people are missing, while 34 bodies have been recovered so far.