The Bold Voice of J&K

IOC airlifts aviation fuel to Srinagar to aid flood relief

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New Delhi: As the Army stepped up rescue operations in the flood ravaged Kashmir Valley, Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has airlifted aviation fuel (ATF) to Srinagar to aid air sorties to the marooned valley.

The Indian Army has swarmed jets, choppers and boats to rescue more than 82,000 people so far after a week of rain caused riverbanks to burst.

“While the Army has been on the forefront, we have been operating in the background. We have ensured that their operations are not affected because of lack of fuel. Our fuel bunker at Srinagar airport, from where rescue air sorties are taking place, has been being stocked with enough aviation fuel,” IOC chairman B Ashok told a news agency here.

Besides rescue operations by the Army, the airport is also operating civilian flights normally as IOC continues to provide them with jet fuel.

To replenish stocks, ATF is being airlifted with the help of Indian Air Force from Ambala as truck movements are hampered due to flood waters cutting off roads links, he said.

Besides ATF, two truckloads of diesel too has been airlifted to the valley yesterday and a similar number is being moved today to provide fuel to power gensets and other communication equipment which are down due to the floods.

“We are also moving products – petrol, diesel, LPG (cooking gas) and kerosene from Leh and Kargil… 400 trucks filled with fuel are waiting to enter the valley as and when an alternate road route is opened,” he said.

While fuel availability is not a problem, dispensing could be, as more than half of the 78 petrol pumps in Srinagar are marooned and the extent of damage caused by floods is not clear.

“As many as 30 pumps are dry and can operate as and when road route opens up and fuel tankers enter Srinagar. Our LPG depot is fine and is stocked with supplies,” he said.

However, an LPG depot of Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) is submerged in water while that of Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) has been partially affected by the floods.

“Our officers are living out of the Srinagar aviation turbine fuel (ATF) bunker and LPG depot. In addition, we have also moved senior officers from Mumbai to coordinate rescue and relief operations with the defence and local administration,” Ashok said.

The oil companies, he said, had adequate stocks to meet defence and civilian needs but their supplies are being hampered by lack of road connectivity.

“We are not able to communicate with our officers because telecommunication links are down. We are sending chits notes with pilots to convey messages and instructions to our people at Srinagar,” he added.

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