Road, communication network hit in J&K

Road, communication network hit in J&K

The breakdown of road and communication network in flood-hit Jammu and Kashmir has left the authorities worried over how to reach out to those rescued and ensure supply of essential commodities. 

The toll rose to about 150 on Monday.

The situation in the state has been described as “very grim”, even as the state and Central government worked day and night to handle the crisis. 

The Met department’s prediction that there would be no heavy rains in the next four to five days has come as a relief for the authorities. There was no fresh rainfall in Kashmir on Monday.

Stepping up rescue operations, naval marine commandos were deployed for the first time on Monday in the massive multi-agency rescue operations underway in the state. 

The situation was reviewed at a meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee under Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth.

A team consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Power, Ministry of Communication and IT, Ministry of Home Affairs and Mother Dairy have reached Srinagar. 

A 10-member team of Central government officials, headed by Joint Secretary (Disaster Management) in the Home Ministry G V V Sarma, is camping in Srinagar and coordinating rescue and relief operations.

 A joint secretary from the Health Ministry will join the central team on Monday night, while a joint secretary from the Department of Expenditure (Finance Ministry) and another joint secretary from the Planning Commission will reach Srinagar on Tuesday. 

Nearly 20,000 people have been rescued from various places by the Army and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

"We have rescued 20,000 people but we don't know who they are (there is no way to reach out to the rescue workers). We are terribly handicapped," a top Home Ministry official said.

NDRF chief O P Singh said all links are down. "As water level is high in many places our personnel are not able to reach those who are stranded," he said.

The NDRF has deployed 17 Urban Search and Rescue teams, comprising more than 700 personnel and 118 boats. So far, the NDRF teams have evacuated more than 5,246 people.

Telecom services are being restored in a phased manner, while full restoration will take at least a week. With the mobile and internet communication in limbo, the Centre has rushed 15 high frequency wireless sets to Srinagar.

According to officials, 90 3G towers have started working in the state, while 10 VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) systems are being air lifted to restore critical telecom towers. Satellite link from Bardula has been provided.

“The Railways is transporting rake load of bottled water and sachet water to Jammu since Monday. Ninety 3G towers have started working. Ten VSAT systems are being airlifted to restore critical telecom towers. Satellite link from Bardula has been provided.

 Petroleum products, food stock and medicines will move from Leh to Srinagar. Similar quantities of food, petroleum products and medicines will also be moved via Manali–Rohtang Pass–Leh–Srinagar to replenish the stock,” an official said.

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