The Australian who helped Workers trapped in a tunnel of India

Saad Iqbal | 🗓️Modified: December 10, 2023 | ⏳Read Time: 4 min | 👁Post Views: 99

Meet Arnold Dix, an Australian hero who recently became a savior for 1.4 billion Indians. Now, he may not be a cricket star, although being Australian, he could very well be a cricket enthusiast.

Arnold Dix, renowned as a tunnelling expert and an engineering professor, played a crucial role in the successful rescue of 41 miners who were trapped inside a tunnel in India for an extended period. He provided invaluable assistance and guidance to the ‘rat hole’ miners, making a significant impact on the Uttarakhand (India) tunnel rescue operation.

It’s worth noting that the mining technique involved, known as ‘rat hole’ mining, was banned by the Supreme Court of India in 2014 due to safety concerns and environmental pollution.

After enduring more than 400 hours of confinement inside the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi, all 41 workers were safely rescued on Tuesday evening. Arnold Dix collaborated with various Indian agencies and local residents to achieve this remarkable feat.

This is a heartfelt note of gratitude to Arnold for his compassionate efforts. A big salute to him for being a part of the collective endeavor that ensured the safety and well-being of those trapped workers. Arnold Dix.

Earlier last month, a harrowing incident unfolded in the Himalayas as 41 workers found themselves trapped in an under-construction tunnel. This marked the beginning of a 17-day rescue mission, jointly conducted by Indian agencies and international experts, to free these individuals from the confines of the collapsed structure.

The workers, employed by a Hyderabad-based engineering firm under contract with the Indian government, were engaged in constructing a 2.8-mile tunnel at Silkyara, a remote village in the Himalayan foothills. On November 12, a landslide occurred, burying a section of the tunnel under nearly 200 feet of rubble and leaving the workers stranded.

The rescue operation commenced swiftly, with rescuers inserting a 6-inch pipe to establish communication with the trapped workers. Through this lifeline, essential supplies like food and medicines were delivered, and family members communicated with the workers daily to provide moral support.

Simultaneously, attempts were made to drill through the debris, using larger pipes to create passageways for the workers. However, this process faced interruptions due to rocks, stones, and metal obstructing the drilling machines.

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The critical breakthrough came on Monday when a team of skilled “rathole miners,” specializing in tunnel excavation inside mountains, successfully dug through the remaining 40 feet. The workers emerged from the tunnel on Tuesday evening, greeted by their relieved family members.

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The Silkyara tunnel is part of an ambitious road network initiated by India’s Hindu nationalist government, aiming to connect four Hindu shrines in the Himalayas and establish all-weather access for the Indian military to reach the China border. However, environmental concerns have been raised, citing the area’s susceptibility to landslides, earthquakes, and floods.

Pramod Nawani, former director of the Geological Survey of India, suggested that the accident likely resulted from carelessness, emphasizing the need for proper support systems in such geological conditions.

In response, Nitin Gadkari, India’s minister of road transport, acknowledged the need for a safety audit of the tunnel and admitted there were lessons to be learned. Despite potential challenges, infrastructure projects in the Himalayas are expected to continue, emphasizing the determination to find solutions and work around difficulties.

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