Blackie has not the left the tunnel at the Tapovan hydel project site waiting for three days. Amid the din of excavators and drills during the rescue operation, the dog has been waiting outside the tunnel for the man that fed him and petted him.
“We would give him food, a sack to sleep on when we worked. Blackie would be around during the day and would leave in the evening when we did,” Rajinder Kumar said, who narrowly escaped on Sunday when the flooded Rishiganga blocked the tunnel, Times of India reported.
34 workers of the NTPC’s Tapovan Vishnugad hydropower project were trapped inside the tunnel. The confirmed death toll in the Uttarakhand disaster rose to 36 with the recovery of two more bodies along the riverbank and 168 people remain missing since Sunday, after an avalanche or a glacier break triggered a surge of water in the Alaknanda river system.
The worker said that Blackie was born around the project site and grew around the crew members. When the flood hit, the dog wasn’t around and had gone downhill for the night. When he came back the next day, none of the men were around.
The dog must have realized that something was amiss. “The place was full of strangers who paid no attention to him. We didn’t know what to do at first,” a local said.
The rescue team tried to shoo away the dog as heavy machinery were being put around. But the dog kept coming and wouldn’t leave.
Locals tell that the dog used to be around and often would lae near the project site. “When I heard of what had happened on Sunday, I went to the tunnel site to see if I could help the next day. I saw blackie…But he is anxious, visibly,” the local said.
“We are looking after him now. Whoever sees him around feeds him. Its like we have adopted him,” one of the locals said.
The dog sits outside the tunnel all day, all night waiting. “We hope he gets to see them again soon,” the local added.