Inching closer to their goal, rescuers have inserted wide pipes up to 45 metres through the rubble and will have to drill another around 12 metres to reach the 41 workers trapped inside the collapsed tunnel in Silkyara for 10 days, officials said Wednesday afternoon.
The authorities have also made elaborate healthcare arrangements for the workers as and when they crawl out through the pipe.
Speaking to reporters at the site around 4.30 pm, former advisor to the prime minister's office Bhaskar Khulbe said, "We are very happy to inform you that (drilling of) a length of six metres has been achieved over the past one hour. Hopefully the next two-three hours will be comfortable in terms of assembling for the next push and attaining what all of us are waiting for. I hope that when we assemble again at 8 pm we have some similar good news to share with you."
He has been regularly briefing the media on the rescue efforts.
NHIDCL MD Mahmood Ahmed and Khulbe had told reporters earlier in the day that 39 metres had been drilled through the rubble to lay three 800-mm diametre pipes.
Rescuers have to drill up to around 57 metres in total to reach the trapped workers who have been stranded on the other side of the rubble since November 12.
On the healthcare arrangements, officials said a team of 15 doctors have been deployed. An eight-bed hospital has been prepared in the control room.
Several ambulances and a helicopter have been kept on standby, they said.
(Except for the headline, this story, from a syndicated feed, has not been edited by Odishatv.in staff)