Silkyara tunnel: More than half of workers reluctant to return to construction site

According to sources, 26 out of the 41 labourers have clearly refused to return to work in the tunnel.
Silkyara tunnel construction site.
Silkyara tunnel construction site.Photo | Express

DEHRADUN: After a perilous 17-day rescue operation following the incident at the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi district, 26 out of the 41 labourers who were successfully rescued have chosen not to return to work on the tunnel construction project.

More than half of the 41 workers have expressed their reluctance to return to work at the Silkyara tunnel after construction resumed following its partial collapse in November of last year.

According to sources with direct knowledge of the construction site, "The labourers, who endured a 17-day ordeal inside the tunnel, have expressed that they are still grappling with the aftermath of the traumatic experience." Additionally, the construction company is facing significant difficulties in finding replacements for these workers due to the hazardous nature of the assignment.

According to sources with direct knowledge, in discussions with representatives of the construction company, 26 labourers have clearly refused to return to work in the tunnel. However, 15 workers are willing to come back to work in the tunnel. Among them, 10 labourers are registered with the construction company responsible for constructing the tunnel, Navayug Engineering.

During discussions with company officials, the workers mentioned, "Some of them have started work elsewhere, while others have opened their own businesses." The construction company is increasingly concerned about the experienced workers not returning to work. Company officials are actively engaged in addressing the mental and emotional well-being of the workers.

Gabar Singh Negi, a resident of Kotdwar and the foreman at Navyug Engineering Company, has chosen not to return to Silkyara just yet. Following his ordeal in the tunnel, where he provided motivation to his fellow workers, Negi cites his son's upcoming board exams and his mother's ailing health as reasons for delaying his return to work. He intends to reconsider his return once these personal matters are resolved.

Raju Nayak of Odisha, who was trapped in the tunnel mishap, has resolved not to return to Silkyara henceforth. He is actively pursuing job opportunities within his home state. Residents of Ranchi, Jharkhand, Chanku Bediya and two others who were trapped in the tunnel have also decided not to return to Silkyara.

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The New Indian Express