Destruction of the road connectivity into the interiors of Pulwama-Awantipore belt was a blessing in disguise for the marooned villages of Marval, Lalhar and Ratnipora. All the three villages were swiftly rescued out of the waters simply because this belt was the easiest available for SDRF, NDRF and other security agencies.
It was this belt in Kakapora where a column of army had gone missing after a heavy water current washed them away. Most of them being swimmers had managed to stay put at an island and were rescued later by their colleagues.
But that is not the same situation for a cluster of villages that could not be accessed because of massive water flow and level. These include Ooukhu, Kandizal, Dangerpora and Padgampora where people are still trapped and waiting for help.
“SRDF personnel tried their level best to reach the Ooukhu but they could not succeed because the water currents were massively overpowering,” a civil administration official who was part of the operations said. “This village is precariously placed in Jhelum current which are as huge as 18 ft.” He is in a fix to tell anything about how the village can sustain this night.
The villagers in Dangerpora have done something different which could prove very costly. In order to be seen that they are in danger, they have came out and are sitting on the bridge in Padgampora. “We tried our level best to tell them that they should not stay on the bridge but our requests have gone astray,” the officer said. “If the level surges during the night, there is a possibility of this bridge getting converted into a tragedy.”
Around 2000 people are still living very dangerously in this belt simply because they could not be accessed and helped out, the primary reason being the weather conditions.
Now, the state government has been assured help by the IAF and the choppers are expected to start flying to these destinations at around 7 am. While there are around half a dozen villages in Pulwama belt that would require aerial rescue, official in the state government said almost a similar number is there in Kulgam and Islamabad. Visiting Home Minister Rajnath has already assured Chief Minister of all help which included using IAF.
Meanwhile reports said around 100 students – 60 girls and 40 boys- are stranded in Awantipore University hostels. Police said girls have been shifted to another hostel which is safer and with the provision of food. They will be sent home once the highway is through.