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ITBP jawans feared trapped safe

February 13, 2005 17:18 IST

All the 17 Indo-Tibetan Border Police jawans, feared trapped in heavy snow in Saunthin Post in Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh for the last few days are safe, a senior official said on Sunday.

"They lost contact due to a communication failure. Their wireless set stopped working due to some problem," Rahul Anand, Deputy Commissioner, Chamba, said.

A Cheetah helicopter of the Indian Air Force conducted a recce of the area and Acting Commandant Ashish Chakraborty dropped a new wireless set at the post. Communication with the jawans was re-established, Anand said.
The ITBP personnel contacted other posts in the border also, he added.

Menawhile, passengers stranded for eight days on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway due to heavy snowing have complained that the government help was inadequate. They, however, praised the locals for their timely help.

"The official machinery made claims about providing comfort to us, but nothing reached the affected people," said Mohammad Rais, who was returning home after holidays from Bangalore. Rais, among the nearly 2,000 people who finally made their way home on Saturday after the highway was reopened, said, "But for the locals, many passengers would have died either due to cold or hunger."

Abdul Hamid, another stranded passenger, complained about a relief helicopter that was sighted several times but never landed in the area.

However, an official spokesman claimed timely relief was made available to the passengers. He said the choppers could not land in Banihal for two successive days due to inclement weather.

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