SRINAGAR: The armed forces have rescued over 1.10 lakh people in relief operations in flood-ravaged Jammu and Kashmir where more than 30,000 troops have been deployed along with 84 helicopters and transport aircraft of the Air Force.
“84 transport aircraft and helicopters of Air Force have been pressed into service while the Indian Army has deployed around 30,000 troops for rescue and relief operations, in which 21,000 troops are deployed in Srinagar region and 9,000 troops in Jammu region,” a Defence Ministry release said.
Marine commandos to establish waterways
Navy’s elite Marine Commandos will establish a waterway in the city to enable faster movement of people stuck in low-lying areas to higher grounds.
The Navy has been given the task to establish a waterway in Srinagar to enable faster transportation of stranded people in the city which is now turned into a big pond, Navy officials said.
At present, this task of relocating people is happening mostly through the helicopters but once the waterways are created, this will lead to faster movement, they said.
The waterway would be created across the Jhelum River and will also help in evacuating tourists stranded in the city to airport and the locals stuck in low-lying areas, the officials said.
The Navy has deployed three teams of its elite MARCOS, who are in the Valley to protect and guard against counter-terrorism activities in the Wular Lake.
The MARCOS using their Gemini boats equipped with high-tech gadgets would establish waterways over which the boats used by the NDRF and other agencies can travel without the risk of hitting any underwater wire, house or cloth-lines as this can cause damage to them, they said.
The MARCOS have already saved 1,500 people who were stuck in the floods. They have been equipped with diving sets and satellite phones to carry out their operations, the officials said.
Keeping in view the urgent requirement of more boats in the rescue operation, army has deployed 90 more boats in Srinagar and adjoining areas and a total of 224 boats of army and 148 of NDRF’s inflatable boats are actively involved in the rescue operation, it said.
Armed forces personnel are distributing water bottles and food packets on a large scale and 2,24,000 litres of water, 31,500 food packets and over 375 tonne cooked food have already been airdropped and distributed in the flood-affected areas.
Engineering stores including suction and submersible pumps from Vishakhapatnam and Jodhpur are also being sent to flood affected areas, the release said.
Communication equipment of Telecom Ministry, Army, BSNL and some of private companies are also being sent to restore the communication systems in the State, it said.
To restore the road connectivity, five task forces of Border Roads Organisation, which include 5,700 personnel, have been pressed into service. They have restored the road connectivity from Batote-Kishtwar and Kishtwar-Sinthan Pass on the Jammu-Srinagar Highway.
Meanwhile, winching operations of the Air Force had to be halted for a while after stone-pelting by the people stranded on ground, IAF officials said.