IAF, admn come to rescue of stranded passengers

Over 700 people taken from Jammu to Srinagar in C-17 aircraft

Tribune News Service

Jammu, February 11

As all the land routes to the Kashmir valley continue to remain closed due to heavy snowfall followed by landslides on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, the civil administration with the help of the Indian Air Force (IAF) has started airlifting stranded passengers from Jammu.

Over 700 people were airlifted in two sorties of the C-17 Globemaster aircraft from Jammu airport on Monday. On Sunday, 186 passengers were airlifted to Srinagar from Jammu.

The process may continue on Tuesday also if the Jammu-Srinagar national highway remains shut. People have been advised to register themselves at Mufti House situated near GGM Science College for transportation to Srinagar.

The Jammu-Srinagar national highway, the only surface link between the Valley and the rest of India during winters, has been shut following landslides after heavy snowfall a few days ago.

The administration is trying to open the road by clearing the landslides but it is taking time. The forecast about rain and snowfall from February 13 is posing a threat to the highway again. With thousands of people stranded in Jammu and on the highway, pressure is building up on the administration to arrange their transport.

“We are trying our best to open the highway and are hopeful that the landslides will soon be cleared,” Sanjeev Verma, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu told The Tribune. He along with IG, Jammu, MK Sinha, IG, Traffic, Alok Kumar and other officers visited the Marog area on Monday to get the firsthand account of clearance of landslides.

Meanwhile, former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday spoke to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and requested her to arrange sorties for passengers stranded in Jammu. “Spoke to @nsitharaman ji regarding passengers who have been stranded in Jammu for many days now. She has assured me that arrangements will be made to airlift them soon,” Mehbooba tweeted.

Replying to Mehbooba’s request, Nirmala tweeted, “the Army to help airlift stranded students and others from Jammu to Srinagar and vice-versa. The inclement weather affected their movement. Acknowledge the phone call of Mehbooba Mufti on this matter. Also just spoke with the Jammu DC.”

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