Avalanche threat: porters remain in base camps

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Srinagar, Feb 3 (UNI) In view of the avalanche threat because of heavy snowfall in the upper reaches, the Army authorities have decided not to use porters in danger zones.

Meanwhile, success still eluded the army authorities to recover the bodies of soldiers and porters who were buried under huge snow avalanche in Uri sector early last month.

There was heavy snowfall on the entire upper reaches, including near the Line of Control (LoC) in north Kashmir, a defence ministry spokesman said adding people had been warned to restrain their movement in avalanche- prone areas.

''We have decided that all porters, working with the army in forward areas, will remain in base camps till the threat of avalanche is over,'' he said.

However, there would be no lowering of guard on the borders where more than 10 feet to 15 feet of snow had accumulated.

He said despite difficult terrain and freezing temperature in the snow- bound areas, troops remained alert to foil any infiltration attempt from across the border.

The supply to troops on forward areas will be maintained by using the soldiers against porters. ''We do not want to risk the lives of porters,'' he said adding'' they (porters) will remain in base camps, relatively safe zones.'' Meanwhile, efforts to recover the bodies of porters and soldiers who were buried under huge snow avalanche in Uri sector received a setback yet again after the entire belt experienced heavy snowfall since last evening.

The bodies would be recovered only after the snow melts next month, official sources said.

Besides, more than 15-feet snow already accumulated in the tragedy area, heavy snowfall since last night has hampered the operation to recover the bodies, they said.

They said the rescue teams, camping in an army post, some distance away from the avalanche site could not move forward owing to bad weather and heavy snowfall.

To avoid any further casualty, the authorities decided to undertake the operation to recover the bodies of porters and soldiers once there was no danger of further avalanches.

More than a dozen porters and soldiers were buried alive under avalanche in Uri sector on January eight. at Chota Kazi Nar Dhar near the Line of Control (Loc) However, only three soldiers could be rescued in an injured condition.

The defence authorities have already sanctioned Rs one lakh, while state government gaave Rs 50,000 as exgratia relief in favour of the next of kin of the missing porters.


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