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Uttarkashi tunnel rescue: ‘Indian jugaad wins over machines,’ Netizens hail rat-hole miners

Uttarkashi rescue tunnel: The multi-agency operation finally rescued the 41 trapped workers on Tuesday after facing several setbacks. However, social media heaped praises on the rat-hole miners for accomplishing the complex rescue operation.

Feroze Qureshi and Monu Kumar, experts in the rat-hole mining technique, were the first to meet the 41 labourers rescued from the Silkyara tunnel on Tuesday night.

Querishi and Kumar were part of a 12-member team of rat-hole mining technique experts who were called on Sunday to do the drilling after an American auger machine came across hurdles while clearing the rubble.

Qureshi told media that as soon as he reached the tunnel, the workers hugged him and held him on his shoulder.

Uttarkashi tunnel rescue LIVE

The rat-hole miner added that he will never forget the respect they (trapped workers) gave to him.

“I removed the last rock. I could see them. Then I went to the other side. They hugged us and lifted us. And thanked us for taking us out. We worked continuously in the last 24 hours. I can’t express my happiness. I have done it for my country,” Qureshi said.

Qureshi is an employee of Delhi-based Rockwell Enterprises and an expert in tunneling work.

Uttarkashi tunnel collapse rescue: 10 things to know

“They (the labourers) gave me almonds and asked my name,” another rat-hole miner Kumar said.

The leader of the 12-member team from Rockwell Enterprises, Wakeel Hassan, said he was approached for help by a company involved in the rescue operation four days ago.

“We are very happy that we were part of this historic operation,” Kumar said.

Rockwell Enterprises Hassan said they did not charge any money for taking part in the rescue operation.

Celebrate the tunnel rescue but don’t overlook the hard questions

Netizens hailed rat-hole miners for saving the lives of 41 trapped workers. A user on X wrote, “Indian Jugad ‘ Rat-Hole-Mining’ triumphs over Giant Augur machine! Congratulations to all 12 experts for their unconventional way approach which rescued 41 miners in Uttarkashi! Salute to the patience of families of miners and the team of National Disaster Management “.

What is rat mining? How a banned practice turned the tide of Uttarkashi tunnel rescue operations

Another user wrote, “Technology may get better and better but in the end, we needed Rat Hole Mining, an illegal and banned practice in many countries to save 41 lives. Thank God! Everything ended well”.

Congress MP Abhishek Singhvi also ailed the rat-hole mining process. Singhvi wrote, “Ultimately what won over mountains, over augur machines, drills, latest equipment was Indian #jugaad. Physical hand mining by so-called rat miners—determined, gritty, fearless, unpretentious, anonymous—literally moved mountains and achieved the impossible! Hail to #jugaad!”.

Mahindra & Mahindra Chairman Anand Mahindra also appreciate the efforts of the erat-hole miners in the gruesome rescue operation. Mahindra wrote, “And after all the sophisticated drilling equipment, it’s the humble ‘rathole miners’ who make the vital breakthrough! It’s a heartwarming reminder that at the end of the day, heroism is most often a case of individual effort & sacrifice”.

About rat-hole mining:

Rat-hole mining is a controversial and hazardous procedure in which miners in small groups go down narrow burrows to excavate small quantities of coal.

This rat-mining method has faced severe criticism due to its hazardous working conditions, environmental damage, and numerous accidents leading to injuries and fatalities.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) banned the practice in 2014 and retained the ban in 2015.

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Updated: 29 Nov 2023, 09:18 AM IST

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