IAF faced daunting task in restoring power supply to Kashmir Valley
Jammu: In their effort to restore power supply to Kashmir Valley, Indian Air Force personnel braved extreme chilly winds and hostile snow-bound terrain as they ferried a technical team and machines at about 9,500 feet in Banihal Pass.
Due to heavy snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir, life in the entire region was thrown out of gear with partial power failure in Srinagar Valley due to the high tension lines at Banihal Pass getting buried under snow, spokesman said Thursday.
The IAF ferried the technical team and machines of Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCI) to conduct a major repair operation on 300 MW power transmission lines in Banihal ridgeline in Jammu and Kashmir.
"On Jan 21, Power Grid Corporation of India approached Indian Air Force to assist them in power restoration. The Cheetah unit based at Udhampur was tasked to airlift a repair team to Banihal top as they needed to carry out repairs on the 300 MW power line," he said.
The mission required selecting a suitable spot on top of the ridge line close to the HT power line that was to be repaired and thereafter drop seven personnel at the selected site by landing or if required winching, he said.
Dropping these personnel close to the high tension cables and Pylons at about 10,000 feet near Banihal pass, in an area known for high turbulence and strong winds, involved high risk.
On January 22, Wing Commander Nitin Batra and Squadran Leader Milind undertook a recce of the area close to the buried power lines and found that the area was at about 9,500 feet and completely snow bound.
In addition as the site was on top off the ridge there were strong winds blowing which ruled out the possibility of winching the team, he said adding that a landing site was selected in the tough terrain.
Keeping Aerospace Safety considerations in mind, it was decided to carry out the operation next morning, he said.
On January 23, after assessing the slope, gradient and depth of snow one person along with the equipment was dropped at that site, the spokesman said, adding that subsequently six more personnel were dropped at that point in three shuttles.
After the repair work was completed, the helicopter picked the personnel flew back to Udhampur.
In spite of such adverse conditions the whole operation was accomplished with accuracy, he said.