The Bold Voice of J&K

90 towers of 3G restored in J-K; road to be open in 5-7 days

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Towards Pantha Chowk.j

Manali-Leh route opened to link Srinagar
JAMMU/NEW DELHI: Government tonight said 90 towers of 3G telecom service have started functioning in Kashmir Valley while 10 VSAT systems are being air lifted to restore critical communication towers.
“3G towers numbering 90 have started working. Besides, 10 VSAT systems are being air lifted to restore critical telecom towers. Satellite link from Bardula has been provided,” an official spokesperson said after a meeting of National Crisis Management Committee, headed by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth.
However, restoration of road communication to the Valley, ravaged by floods, will take five to seven days.
The Centre has directed free flow of transport via Manali and Leh to Srinagar, the only available surface network, a top Central Government official said here on Monday .
An emergency coverage of logistics, petroleum products, food stock and medicines will move from Leh to Srinagar.
Similar quantities of food, petroleum products and medicines will also be moved from northern India via Manali-Rohtang Pass-Leh-Srinagar to replenish the stocks.
The Home Ministry is also airlifting thousands of bottles of drinking water and blankets to Jammu and Kashmir to be distributed among the flood-affected people as there is shortage of potable water and woollens.
“As nights are getting colder in the Valley, we are urgently arranging blankets and airlifting them to Srinagar.
There is crisis of drinking water too. So, we are sending thousands of bottled water beginning on Monday for next four-five days,” the official said.
Packets of biscuits and ready to eat food have been rushed last night with further supplies carried to the Valley for distribution. Railways is also transporting rake load of bottled water and sachet water to Jammu.
The three highways connecting Kashmir with Jammu have been badly hit and the Border Roads Organisation has assessed the damage and conveyed that it will take at least five to seven days for their restoration, the official said.
Facing problems of connecting even top State Government officials, the Centre has dispatched 15 high frequency wireless sets to Srinagar on Monday and is expecting that the wireless service will be restored by tonight.
A 10-member team of Central Government officials, headed by Joint Secretary (Disaster Management) in the Union Home Ministry G.V.V Sarma, is camping in Srinagar and coordinating rescue and relief operations with all concerned and extending emergency support facility to the local administration.
The team includes officials from Ministry of Power, Ministry of Communication and IT and Mother Dairy.
A Joint Secretary of the Union Health Ministry will join the central team tonight while a Joint Secretary from the Department of Expenditure (Union Ministry of Finance) and another Joint Secretary from the Planning Commission will reach Srinagar tomorrow to offer help and coordination to those involved in flood relief operations.
Government is also making efforts for the restoration of the power connection in the Valley and deploying people for the task.
Though there is no scarcity of petrol and diesel so far, at least 50 pumps – out of 78 pumps in the Valley – are under flood water.
The authorities are also planning to deploy heavy duty pumps to drain out flood water in some of the low lying areas in Srinagar city.
The official said that air connectivity to Srinagar and Jammu are normal while train lines up to Udhampur are expected to be operationalised on Monday and up to Katra by tomorrow.
Army, Air Force, NDRF and State agencies have so far rescued more than 25,000 people and lodged them in higher places in the Valley.
Nine fixed wing aero planes consisting IL-76, AN-32, C-130 and 29 helicopters have been pressed into service. In addition, 14 fixed wing aircrafts have been kept standby for carrying material required for relief and recovery process.
As the death toll in the worst flooding to hit the State in six decades inched towards 200, the Centre has rushed more National Disaster Response Forces(NDRF) teams equipped with boats and other flood relief equipment. Naval commandos were also deployed for the first time. While 130 persons are reported to have died in Jammu, the rest are from the Valley.
“More deaths are in Jammu region because of flash floods and landslides. In the Valley, water level rises slowly hence there are less casualties,” the official said.
Meanwhile, lakhs of people are still stranded in the Valley where massive rescue operations were underway on warfooting.
There was only slight drizzle in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley on Monday in some relief after the State was pounded by rains since Tuesday even as the water level in many flood-hit areas slowly began to recede. The water level in Dal Lake in Srinagar is, however, rising.
NDRF Chief O.P Singh said the flood situation in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley was “very acute”.
As dozens of boats were deployed in Srinagar by rescue agencies, desperate residents were huddled on rooftops and upper floors of their houses in several areas hoping to escape the flood waters. The State Government, however, requisitioned for more boats, officials said.
IAF choppers and transport aircraft undertook several sorties as relief work was extended for the first time to south Kashmir.
IAF has deployed 45 aircraft and helicopters into action, a defence spokesman said. The rescued included 1,400 army personnel and their families caught in flood waters in its headquarters at Badamibagh Cantonment in Srinagar.
The cantonment along with areas of Shivpora and Indranagar in Srinagar were submerged as the water level rose alarmingly due to breach in the Jhelum River.
With thousands of people trapped on the second floor, third floor or on the roof tops in several areas in the Valley, a defence spokesman said army plans to continue the rescue operations even at night.
“Soldiers won’t return to barracks until last man is helped,” Army Chief Gen Dalbir Suhag said in Delhi.
The heavy floods triggered by torrential rains have snapped Valley’s telecommunication links with the rest of the country even as BSNL launched an operation on a war-footing with Indian Army and IAF to restore mobile services through satellite network. Internet connectivity was also down.
Officials said it may take upto 72 hours for the telecom links to be restored. The military machinery and government authorities have taken recourse to satellite phones.

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