Jammu, May 20: Around ten labourers, mostly non-locals, are missing and feared dead while three others have been rescued after an under-construction tunnel on the Jammu-Srinagar highway in Ramban district collapsed last night.
Officials said that a joint rescue operation was launched immediately after a portion of the tunnel at Khoni nallah collapsed on Thursday night.
“At around 10.15 pm (on May 19), the Ajit tunnel of T3 caved-in, near Khooni Nallah Ramban, trapping more than a dozen labourers of Sarla Company working at the site,” the officials said.
A police officer said that three persons were rescued and were shifted to district hospital Ramban wherefrom one of them— Vishnu Gola (33) Jharkhand has been referred to GMS Jammu for advanced treatment.
“Rescue operation is still going on,” the officer said, adding, “It is likely to take more time as rock breakers are being used to create space for reaching the trapped persons.” Asked about the possibility of the survival of the trapped, the officer said that nothing can be said with surety. “Rescue is on and hopefully we will reach them soon.”
Deputy Commissioner Ramban, alongwith DIG, SSP Ramban and Project Director NHAI and representatives of Construction Company are at the spot, officials said.
Deputy Commissioner Ramban Masrat-ul-Islam said that company officials have informed that ten persons are missing persons.
Asked about the wellbeing of the missing persons, he said that “nothing can be said as of now”.
“The length of the tunnel is around 3 meters only and whether they are inside it or outside the tunnel area is not specifically known also. Debris is all-around. There are chances of suffocation also,” he said, adding, “the rescue operation has been going on since 12 a.m. He said it a “delicate operation” as far as vulnerability is concerned. “Shooting stones are continuously happening and even heavy machinery cannot be employed given the fact that shooting stones fall continuously.”
The missing persons have been identified as Jadav Roy (23), Gautam Roy(22), Sudhir Roy(31), Dipak Roy (33), Parimal Roy (38), all from West Bengal, Shiva Chowhn (26) from Assam, Nawaraj Chowdhury (26) and Kushi Ram (25), both from Nepal, Muzaffar (38) and Israt (30), both locals.