The AIIMS-Rishikesh on Thursday declared all 41 workers who were evacuated from Silkyara tunnel after a 17-day ordeal fit to return home.
Briefing the media here on their health condition, Dr Ravikant, head of general medicine department, said the workers were thoroughly examined and their blood test, X-ray and ECG reports were normal.
“They are physically normal and clinically stable. We have given them clearance to return home,” he said.
However, Dr Ravikant said one of the workers from Uttarakhand stayed back at the facility for the treatment of a congenital medical condition.
A worker from Uttarakhand has been incidentally diagnosed with Atrial Septal Defect, an anomaly that is present at birth, he said.
“His physical condition and vitals are normal. He has been shifted from the Disaster Ward to the Department of Cardiology for further investigations. This disorder is not related to tunnel collapse,” he said.
The workers were rescued from the partially collapsed tunnel in Uttarkashi on Tuesday night after a long-drawn operation. After being kept under medical observation for a night at the community health centre at Chinyalisaur, they were airlifted on Wednesday to AIIMS, Rishikesh for a thorough examination of their health parameters.
As they have come out of a tunnel after 17 days, the workers might need acclimatisation, the doctor said, adding they have been advised to go to the nearest hospital after two weeks for a check-up.
“On the basis of their major organ screening, we can say they are fit to travel. As they were taken good care of during their confinement in the tunnel with regular feeding, there was no case of starvation. Most of them are young or of middle age. That also helped them stay fit,” Ravikant said.
Doctors from the AIIMS-Rishikesh will stay connected with the workers through tele-medicine to monitor their mental health for the next few weeks, he said in reply to a question.
About how they will be taken home, the hospital authorities said respective state governments are working out details of their departure.
The number of workers from Jharkhand is the highest at 15. A nodal officer from Jharkhand who is at AIIMS said on Thursday that they will be airlifted.
The responsibility of commute of the rest of them will be handed over to authorised representatives from their states as and when they approach the hospital administration, the hospital authorities said.
“Our priority is to ensure that all workers are safely transported to their home by officials authorised by their respective state governments,” another doctor said at the media briefing.
Apart from 15 workers from Jharkhand, eight are from Uttar Pradesh, five each from Odisha and Bihar, three from West Bengal, two each from Uttarakhand and Assam, and one from Himachal Pradesh.
Meanwhile, Navayuga Engineering Company Limited (NECL), the firm for which the 41 labourers worked at the Silkyara tunnel, has given a cheque of Rs 2 lakh to each of the rescued workers as compensation and announced a bonus of two months for them when they report back to duty. The NECL is a private company employed by the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) to carry out the construction work of the Silkyara tunnel.
“The company has given a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each, as an compensation, irrespective of cadre or any other position,” NECL’s HR department head Rajeev told PTI.
The management has also decided to give two months’ bonus to all the employees at the site. “We have also advised all our employees to take rest for a few days before coming back to work,” he said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)