Orissa: Air Force facing difficulty in relief work

The Air Force has pressed into service two MI-17 helicopters since yesterday to provide relief to Orissa.

Kolkata: The Air Force, which has pressed into service two MI-17 helicopters since Wednesday to provide relief to the flood-hit areas of Orissa, is facing difficulty in the operations owing to inclement weather.

``The low clouds, and rainfall are posing a challenge to the operations. Strong low level winds are also making the task more challenging. We are carrying out the task, however, by finding penetrable patches in the weather. Our boys are operating relentlessly in a determined manner,`` Wg Cdr Pankaj Bajaj, leading the relief operations, said.

Over the past 48 hours, the helicopters, operating from the Bhubaneswar airfield, have delivered 36 tonnes of food packets and dry rations in 15 sorties, the sources said.

According to the sources, the relief effort was presently concentrated around 100 km radius from the State capital which is presently the worst flood affected area.

Quoting civil administration officials, the sources said the relief operations were likely to continue for at least another day.

The helicopters for these operations have been drawn from Air Force Station Kumbhigram in Assam under the Eastern Air Command (EAC).

EAC Senior Staff Officer Air Marshal Matheswaran said the helicopters and transport aircraft were kept in a state of readiness in the entire eastern sector.

``If the civil administration asks for our assistance, we would be in a position to provide it at a short notice in any state of eastern India,`` he said.


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