Himachal tunnel caves in, three trapped for over 20 hours

Shimla, Sep 13 (IANS) At least three labourers have been trapped since Saturday evening when an under-construction tunnel near Bilaspur town in Himachal Pradesh collapsed and blocked the passage, police said on Sunday.

Fire brigade and police have launched an operation to rescue them.

Official sources said the workers of the Himalayan Construction Company were digging the tunnel when a portion caved in due to landslides. All the trapped workers belonged to the hill state.

Superintendent of Police Balbir Thakur told reporters that the tunnel caved in due to seepage of water. The debris blocked the tunnel passage.

Machines have been deployed to pump oxygen into the tunnel, a police official told IANS over phone.

The tunnel, which is part of the under-construction four-laning of the Kiratpur-Manali national highway, is located near Ghumarwin town, around 120 km from the state capital.

Workers involved in the construction work blamed the company for lack of safety measures.

“For the past few days, huge cracks and fissures surfaced in a rock inside the tunnel. The company had been ignoring it and due to its negligence the accident occurred,” one of the survivors told police.

Official sources said the cave in took place around 8.30 p.m. on Saturday when workers of the night shift were coming at work. The first shift was over at 8 p.m.

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