Workers rescued from collapsed Indian tunnel are well, set to return home

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All 41 men who were rescued from a collapsed tunnel in the Indian Himalayas earlier this week are well and will return to their homes in coming days after being discharged from the hospital where they were undergoing treatment, doctors said on Thursday.

The men, all construction workers hailing from some of India's poorest states, were trapped in the under-construction tunnel in Uttarakhand state for 17 days before they were pulled out on Tuesday.

Doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in nearby Rishikesh city said all 41 workers are "physically normal" and "clinically stable", and have been medically cleared for discharge.

The hospital is coordinating with officials from their home states to facilitate their return, they said.

"Clearance is there from our side, once their ticket bookings and other formalities are completed, we will discharge them," said Dr Narendra Kumar, an assistant professor at the hospital, at a media briefing.

About 20 of the men, who hail from the eastern states of Jharkhand and Odisha, are likely to be discharged on Thursday itself, doctors said, while the others will follow suit in coming days.

The tunnel is part of the $1.5 billion Char Dham highway, one of the government's most ambitious projects, which seeks to connect four Hindu pilgrimage sites.

Authorities have not said what caused the tunnel to collapse but the region is prone to landslides, earthquakes and floods.

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