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Fencing along LoC damaged by avalanches

Last updated on: February 25, 2012 16:37 IST

Fencing along LoC damaged by avalanches

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Avalanches in Kashmir have caused extensive damage to the fencing along the LoC in the Valley, posing a fresh challenge to the anti-infiltration grid, the army said on Saturday.

The army was also reviewing the feasibility of abandoning some posts near the Line of Control in wake of the looming threat of fresh avalanches.

"There has been extensive damage to the fence in many areas, especially along the Shamsabari (mountain) range," General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Northern Command Lieutenant General K T Parnaik said.

The fence along the LoC was erected in 2004 as part of counter-infiltration measures and has proven vital in the efforts of the army to check infiltration.

Lieutenant General Parnaik said there was so much snow in the area that it had even buried the fence.

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Image: Indian soldiers patrol near the Line of Control
Photographs: Danish Ismail/Reuters

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Fencing along LoC damaged by avalanches

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"This is a yearly phenomenon but this year the snow has been rather heavy, the fence has got damaged. In fact, there is so much of snow that it has got over the fence," he said.

Avalanches have struck many areas along the LoC in Kashmir following heavy snowfall in the Valley this winter.

A massive avalanche hit the headquarters of the 109 Infantry Brigade at Dawar area of Gurez sector, near the LoC, in Bandipora district on Wednesday night, resulting in the death of 14 soldiers. Two others are still missing.

Three more soldiers were killed the same day when another avalanche hit an army camp in Sonamarg area of central Kashmir's Ganderbal district.

Lieutenant General Parnaik said the army faces a "huge task" to retrieve and repair the fence once the snow melts and summer sets in.

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Image: Army soldiers bring down the body of a colleague from a helicopter after the avalanche
Photographs: Fayaz Kabli/Reuters

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Fencing along LoC damaged by avalanches

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"I am sure we will be able to do it in time," he said.

Lieutenant General Parnaik said the army was reviewing the feasibility of abandoning some posts near the LoC in wake of the looming threat of fresh avalanches.

"There are posts which are vacated in winters, which get cut-off...and they do come under avalanches, those posts have been vacated already. We are reviewing if we need to vacate some more posts but that will be a tactical decision which will be taken by the commanders on the ground," he said.

He said the army has a system of reoccupying the posts once the snow level goes down.

"I don't think there can be any threat of someone coming and occupying them before we do so," he said.

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Image: Army soldiers march in front of coffins containing bodies of colleagues killed in avalanches
Photographs: Fayaz Kabli/Reuters

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Fencing along LoC damaged by avalanches

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Lieutenant General Parnaik said the army was conducting air surveillance of snowbound and avalanche-prone areas to ensure that incidents like Dawar and Sonamarg are avoided.

He said in case of avalanche threat in any area, the army will not only be evacuating its personnel but the civilians as well.

"In view of the heavy snow this season, advisories have gone to the army formations in all these remote areas to ensure that we evacuate people from those areas which could be dangerous," he added.

Earlier, Lieutenant General Parnaik led the senior army officers and representatives from civil administration in paying tribute to the soldiers killed in the Gurez avalanche.

Wreaths were laid at the coffins of the 13 soldiers before their bodies were flown to their native places.

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Image: Army soldiers carrying wreaths walk in front of coffins containing the bodies of colleagues killed in avalanches
Photographs: Fayaz Kabli/Reuters

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