Pawan Hans, pvt chopper firms join rescue efforts in J&K

State-run Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited and private chopper firms have joined the multi-agency rescue and relief efforts in flood-ravaged Jammu and Kashmir, as Air India kept two aircraft on stand-by to carry passengers and relief materials whenever required.

New Delhi: State-run Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited and private chopper firms have joined the multi-agency rescue and relief efforts in flood-ravaged Jammu and Kashmir, as Air India kept two aircraft on stand-by to carry passengers and relief materials whenever required.

"Air India has kept two aircraft ready to join the humanitarian efforts in Jammu and Kashmir, while Pawan Hans and private companies like Global Vectra and Himalayan Heli are working alongside the defence forces," Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju told reporters here.

Air India CMD Rohit Nandan said two special planes have been kept ready to provide assistance in the relief efforts. "Two planes are ready. We are ready to carry passengers or relief materials provided by the government or any NGO free of charge."

However, he said, "Our activity will begin only when people or materials are brought to the airport", including flood-hit Srinagar.

Noting that all 17 daily flights, including those operated by private carriers, to Srinagar were "going on normally", Nandan said the national carrier was "also ready to provide additional capacity" in order to fly passengers or relief materials.

IAF and civilian choppers and transport aircraft have been undertaking non-stop sorties overnight to carry men and relief material to submerged parts, as mammoth multi-agency rescue efforts were underway in J&K to rescue lakhs of people trapped in flood-ravaged areas.

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