According to local newspapers, the collapse may have been caused by rising floodwaters from the Bhagirathi river, leading to heavy landslides. Initial reports suggested that nearly 60 workers were inside the tunnel when it caved in.

Work has currently been suspended on the 261m high Tehri dam, but it is due to resume soon, A.S Napalchyal, principal secretary for disaster management in the northern Uttaranchal state told reporters. The dam has reportedly not been affected by the collapse.

Tehri dam, part of a 24,000MW hydroelectric project, has previously been the subject of massive protests by environmental groups, who claim the dam is unsafe because it is sited in an area of high seismic activity.

An inquiry is being launched into the exact cause of the collapse.

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