9 feared dead, 3 rescued as portion of under-construction tunnel collapses on NH

JCBs engaged in removing debris near Khooni Nallah in district Ramban. -Excelsior/Parvaiz
JCBs engaged in removing debris near Khooni Nallah in district Ramban. -Excelsior/Parvaiz

Traffic movement stopped due to continuous landslide

Excelsior Correspondent

RAMBAN, May 20: Nine labourers were feared dead and three others rescued after a portion of an under-construction tunnel collapsed near Khooni Nallah on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway late last night.
“Around 10.15 pm on Thursday, the audit tunnel of T3 on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway near Khooni Nallah collapsed, trapping around dozen labourers of Sarla Company working there”, official sources said.
The rescue operation on the National Highway stretch between Ramban and Ramsu started at midnight and was going on in full swing with rock-breakers being used to reach out to those trapped, sources added.

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Divisional Commissioner Jammu Ramesh Kumar and Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Jammu Zone, Mukesh Singh visited the incident site where a massive rescue operation was underway.
Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh termed the collapse of a part of the tunnel ‘unfortunate’. “I am in constant touch with DC Mussarat Islam. Nearly 10 labour workers were trapped under the debris. Another three were rescued and hospitalised with injuries. Rescue operations are going on in full swing. Civil administration and police authorities are monitoring the situation”, he said.
The Divisional Commissioner said the rescue operation is likely to take more time as rock-breakers are being used to create space in order to reach the trapped persons.
Though officials claimed that the audit tunnel is only three to four metres, Kumar said, “it is not known whether they (those trapped) are inside it or outside the tunnel area. There are debris all-around”.
Official sources said that the rescue operation was stopped due to rainfall and continuous landslide. However, the operation will resume once the weather clears and landslides stop.
One of the deceased, whose body was found from the debris, was identified as Sudheer Roy (31), son of Manik Chandra Roy of West Bengal. His body has been shifted to mortuary of District Hospital Ramban for completion of medical and legal formalities.
Those trapped inside the tunnel are Jadav Roy (23), Gautam Roy (22), Dipak Roy (33) and Parimal Roy (38), all from West Bengal, Shiva Chouhan (26) from Assam, Nepali citizens Navaraj Chaudhary (26) and Kushi Ram Chaudhary (25), Mohammad Muzaffar and Mohammad Ishirat, both residents of Marog District Ramban, officials said.
Two hospitalised in District Hospital Ramban were identified as Vishnu Gola (33) of Jharkhand and Ameen (26) of District Ramban. The third injured person identified as Verinder Kumar has been rushed to Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) Jammu for treatment, officials said.
“Nine workers continue to be trapped under the debris and it is assumed that they are dead. All of them were employed by a company tasked with auditing the tunnel”, official sources said.
The traffic movement on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway has also been stopped due to continuous landslide near the collapsed tunnel site. Hundreds of vehicles got stranded due to closure of the highway.

LG monitoring rescue operations
Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, May 20: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha is constantly monitoring the situation in Ramban where nine people are still feared to be trapped.
He also chaired a high-level meeting with senior officials at the Civil Secretariat and discussed the progress of rescue operations.
The rescue operation started last night with District, Police and Army personnel on the ground. The Lt Governor, who is monitoring the situation from a control room, was briefed about intermittent shooting stones, which have been obstructing the rescue operation. Expressing concern over the incident, he said rescue operations will continue on war footing till the last person is reached.
Sinha directed Divisional Commissioner Jammu Ramesh Kumar; ADGP, Jammu, Mukesh Singh, Deputy Commissioner Ramban, Mussarat Islam and Senior Superintendent of Police, Mohita Sharma, last night to supervise the rescue operation.