J&K: IAF airlifts 2,100 people stranded in snow

1613 civilians were ferried between the twin capital cities in 6 sorties of IL-76 and 5 sorties of AN-32 planes of IAF.

Last Updated: Jan 22, 2012, 21:43 PM IST

Jammu: Coming to the rescue of those stranded
in snow-bound parts of Jammu and Kashmir, the IAF has ferried
over 2100 people, including 1600 civilians, between the
state`s twin capital cities.

"It is one of the biggest peace-time day-night rescue
and relief operations in recent years," Defence spokesperson,
Jammu, SN Acharya said on Sunday.

He said 1613 civilians were ferried between the twin
capital cities in 6 sorties of IL-76 and 5 sorties of AN-32
planes of IAF. Similarly, 575 army personnel were transported
in 2 sorties of IL-76 and one sortie of AN-32.

The state government had requisitioned IAF choppers to
ferry passengers stranded for past ten days at Jammu and
Srinagar due to closure of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway.

The IAF`s CONDORS helicopter unit at Jammu had launched a
major air operation on January 9 for rescue and relief in
snow-hit areas of the state.

The state government is charging a nominal Rs 500 per
passenger for travel between Srinagar and Jammu.

Meanwhile, over 3,100 vehicles, stranded for past over one
week due heavy snowfall and landslides, left Srinagar for
Jammu as authorities allowed one-way traffic movement on the
300-km-long Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, police said.

The vehicles, mostly trucks and tankers, were stranded at
various places on the highway including Banihal, Ramban,
Patnitop, Udhampur and Nagrota areas of Jammu district.

The highway, the only surface link to Kashmir, was closed
on January 13 due to landslides but reopened for one
way-traffic on January 14 for a brief period. It was again
closed due to heavy snowfall, avalanches and landslides on
January 15 and reopened for one-way traffic briefly on January
18. This January, it has remained closed for almost 11 days.

Traffic on Batote-Doda-Kishtwar was allowed today after
remaining disrupted for 13 days in view of snowfall at various
places besides most of the inter-district roads in Reasi,
Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban.

PTI