New Delhi, Nov 29 (EFE).- The 41 Indian workers rescued after 17 days from the Himalayan tunnel underwent medical check-ups and received 100,000 rupees ($1,200) as compensation on Wednesday, officials said.
Videos recorded by the workers inside the community health center in the town of Chinyalisaur, in the northern state of Uttarakhand, showed several walking around a large room of beds as others chatted in small groups or on mobile phones.
“I met all of them, they are healthy and happy…medical check-up was done and there is no problem to anyone of them,” Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said after visiting the workers at the hospital.
“I gave 100,000 rupee cheques to them as promised. Also, the rescuers, who went inside the tunnel for digging, will be awarded 50,000 rupees each by the state government,” he said.
The workers were trapped on the morning of Nov. 12 when a section of the under-construction mountain tunnel in the northern state of Uttarakhand collapsed.
Thus began a 17-day rescue operation, during which two tunnel boring machines, hundreds of workers, and specialized miners were used to get through the nearly 60-meter-thick wall of rubble that separated the workers from the tunnel’s entrance.
After overcoming several setbacks in the form of machine breakdowns and obstructions during drilling, the rescuers on Tuesday managed to complete the escape route and insert the last of the narrow pipes, almost a meter in diameter, through which the workers escaped with the help of special stretchers that the rescue teams pulled using a rope.
Once the medical examinations are completed, it is expected that the workers, several of them from other states in India, will be discharged and able to leave with their families, who were waiting outside the tunnel at the time of the rescue on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to the workers over the phone and conveyed his relief over the successful rescue operation.
The workers shared with Modi their routine, which included yoga practice in the mornings and walks after dinner, during their long confinement.
Throughout the ordeal, the workers received food, water, medicines, and oxygen through a narrow pipe that connected their cavity to the entrance and survived the collapse.
The rescue operation lasted over 400 hours and was hindered by various setbacks, delaying the deadline to pull them out alive. EFE