The way a part of the Silkyara Tunnel caved in in the early hours of Sunday in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand.
This has not only posed a challenge to save the lives of all the 40 laborers trapped in this accident, but in view of the accidents related to infrastructure construction in sensitive areas, the need to consider them separately has again been underlined.
The good thing is that the local administration became active immediately. By establishing contact with the workers trapped in the tunnel, it was ascertained that they were all safe.
Arrangements were also made to supply oxygen and food to them. To reach these, efforts are being made to create a separate safe passage by removing the debris.
Certainly, in this case too, the eyes of the entire country will be focused on how quickly all the 40 laborers are evacuated safely.
But this is only one aspect of the matter. Another equally important aspect is the infrastructure projects going on in this hilly state and the accidents that happen from time to time.
This tunnel is part of the much talked about Char Dham Highway Project. Questions were raised on this project and the matter went to the Supreme Court.
At that time, the government had argued in the apex court that this project is necessary in view of the defense interests of the country.
On this basis, the project also got approval from the Supreme Court. It is also true that the country’s defense interests cannot be compromised.
Well, in the initial reports this accident has been said to be the result of landslide, but due to complete focus on relief and rescue operations at present, detailed and authentic information about it has not come.
It has to be ensured that after dealing with the immediate challenges related to the accident, all necessary steps are taken by paying close attention to the report related to its causes.
Keep in mind, environmental experts have been warning against new construction and infrastructure construction in the Himalayan region. This was reiterated some time ago regarding the incidents of land subsidence in Joshimath.
Even at that time it was said that due to some projects the process of land subsidence has accelerated.
It was also revealed that reports decades ago had warned about a possible accident. Similar questions have also been raised regarding Himachal Pradesh.
The matter of concern is that all such recommendations of experts start gathering dust after some time.
Neither do they have any significant impact on the speed of the development process, nor is there any change in its form.
The biggest challenge even today is to understand the special needs of the mountains and decide on a new framework for development there.