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TO THE RESCUE! IAF airlifts 1,100 stranded people in J&K

Last updated on: January 21, 2012 21:42 IST

TO THE RESCUE! IAF airlifts 1,100 stranded people in J&K

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar

The Indian Air Force on Saturday ferried 1,100 stranded passengers between the twin capitals of Jammu and Kashmir in one of the biggest peace time operations, reports Mukhtar Ahmad

The operation followed the continued closure of the only road link that connects the winter capital Jammu with the Kashmir Valley.

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Image: Stranded passengers waiting to aboard a special aircraft of the IAF at the airport in Jammu, on Saturday
Photographs: Umar Ganie

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The road got closed on January 7 following season's first heavy snowfall and continued to remain blocked by the further snowfalls.

Despite strenuous efforts put in by the Border Roads Organisation which maintains the highway, the road could not be opened for two way passenger traffic.

 


Image: Stranded tourists walk to board the special IAF aircraft, in Srinagar, on Saturday
Photographs: Umar Ganie

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TO THE RESCUE! IAF airlifts 1,100 stranded people in J&K

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However, stranded trucks carrying essential supplies to the Valley were allowed to ply after the highway was opened three days back.

The fresh snowfall again blocked the highway deepening the crisis faced by the passengers stranded in Jammu and Srinagar who have been facing hardships.

 


Image: Stranded goods trucks near Jawahar Tunnel along Jammu Srinagar highway on Friday
Photographs: Umar Ganie
Tags: IAF , J&K , Jammu , Valley

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TO THE RESCUE! IAF airlifts 1,100 stranded people in J&K

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The situation was compounded by steep hike in airfares between the two capitals of the state making air travel out of bounds for the stranded passengers.

Those stranded in Srinagar included many tourists holidaying in Kashmir.


Image: Stranded tourists board a state government bus to the airport, where IAF's aircrafts airlifted them to safer places, on Saturday
Photographs: Umar Ganie
Tags: IAF , Kashmir , J&K , Srinagar

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TO THE RESCUE! IAF airlifts 1,100 stranded people in J&K

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"IAF's one of the biggest peace-time day-night rescue and relief operations for the stranded civilians of Jammu and Kashmir in recent years started today with ferrying of over 1,100 people, including ladies and children in the snow-bound Kashmir Valley, which remained cut off since January 7," defence spokesperson, Jammu, S N Acharya said.

"We had several sorties of IL-76 and AN-32 aircrafts to ferry men and material to Kashmir," he said.


Image: Stranded passengers board a special IAF flight, on Saturday
Photographs: Umar Ganie

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TO THE RESCUE! IAF airlifts 1,100 stranded people in J&K

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"We are happy that our main aim was fulfilled as every passenger went home safely" he added.

Dr Pawan Kotwal, divisional commissioner, Jammu, who was personally supervising the administrative measures in the technical airport, said that "preference was given to passengers who were stranded for a long time and ladies and children".

He further said that "if need be more rescue sorties will be organised". Dr Kotwal thanked the Air Force for prompt action at their end.

 


Image: Beacon workers clear a snow-clogged Jammu Srinagar highway on Saturday
Photographs: Umar Ganie

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