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Army intensifies rescue operation in J&K

Source: PTI
October 09, 2005 19:19 IST
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Army and Air Force on Sunday intensified rescue and relief efforts in quake-hit Jammu and Kashmir pressing choppers and airplanes to airlift people to safety, setup a disaster management action cell to coordinate round-the-clock operations and deployed troops, medical and engineering teams to deal with aftermath of earthquake.

"We have pressed choppers into rescue operations and disaster management cell has been formed at 16 Corps Headquarters amid launch of night-long operations including deployment of several columns of troops, medical and engineering teams in affected areas in the state," Brigadier, General Staff (BGS) A K Bakshi told PTI in Jammu.

Complete Coverage: Terror from the earth

Army has pressed its engineering wings to rebuild infrastructure in rural areas, he said.

Choppers have been ferrying the injured and the affected to safety from Uri, Tanghdar and Poonch, he said.

Over 300 tents have been setup at five different places in Poonch by the Army for housing the houseless people, who have been provided with food and ration, Bakshi said.

In Delhi, Air Vice Marshal Ajit Bhavnani said the Air Force had pressed into service all Mi-17 helicopters, a few An-32 transport aircraft as well as Cheetah and Chetak choppers for rescue operations.

He said the Air Force would help Pakistan in relief operations if asked to do so by the government.

"Such decisions are taken at the government level," he said.

Meanwhile, coming together in the face of calamity, Pakistani troops returned an Indian soldier who had inadvertantly crossed the Line of Control after Saturday's devastating earthquake.

"One of our soldiers, who had gone across the Line of Control was returned by the Pakistanis in Tangdhar sector," J&K Governor Lt Gen (retd) S K Sinha said after visiting Tangdhar, which has been among the worst-affected areas by the quake.

During his visit to the affected border pockets on Sunday morning, Sinha was told that the army had lost 54 personnel.

Some of the forward defences and pickets have also suffered heavy damage.

At 'Eagle' picket in the sector, 12 soldiers went down 3,000 feet with the landslide. Their bodies are yet to be recovered.
Flag meetings have been held on the Line of Control with the Pakistani commanders and help offered.

He said army patrols had gone out and contacted remote villages to assess damage and recover casualties. Many villages are yet to be contacted, he said and hoped that latest by Monday, the army would reach them.

Rain and hailstorm had hampered rescue operations on Saturday night.

Complete Coverage: Terror from the earth

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