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Tehri tunnel disaster toll reaches 24

August 04, 2004 10:01 IST

The toll in Tehri dam tunnel disaster on rose to 24 with the recovery of more bodies of workers of a private company since Tuesday night, officials said on Wednesday.

While 13 bodies were recovered till 2200 hours yesterday, remaining 11 bodies were recovered during the overnight rescue operation, they said.

However, the hope of survival of those still believed to be trapped inside the 100-metre deep tunnel, that caved in after heavy landslides, was fast receding even as authorities pressed bulldozers and cranes to cut the big boulders that might have buried nearly 25 to 30 labourers on Monday night.

But officials of Tehri Hydro Develoment Corporation, the Rs 6000 crore project implementing agency, maintained that there was less chances of recovery of more bodies as the rescue operation was nearing final stages. "There may be one or two bodies left," a top THDC official said.

Nearly 50 to 60 labourers from Jharkhand and Bihar working for Jay Prakash industries, which is constructing the 260.5 metre Tehri dam, were working inside the tunnel when heavy boulders and unused construction material hurtled down.

A large number of labourers managed to come out after the deafening sound of the thud shook through the tunnel.

This is the first major incident of its kind within a week after sudden rise of Bhagirathi river that submerged several parts of old Tehri town.

Senior police and administrative officials are supervising the rescue operation.

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