Chopper link to areas cut off by snow in Jammu and Kashmir

January 22nd, 2009 - 3:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Jammu, Jan 22 (IANS) The Jammu and Kashmir government in collaboration with the Indian Air Force (IAF) Thursday started a helicopter service to connect the remote mountainous of Kishtwar district to the headquarter town, officials said.People living in places like Dachan, Warwan and Marwah, which get cut off from Kishtwar town due to heavy snowfall in winters, will be able to utilise the weekly helicopter service.

According to district officials, the first helicopter flight took 20 passengers to Navapachi in Marwah area and brought back the same number. The fare for Marwah and Warwan is Rs.1,000 per passenger while it is Rs.800 for Dachan.

“This is the best that could be done for people of these areas who remain cut off for months together. It takes two to three days to reach Kishtwar from these places and it was a big problem for sick people, especially women,” Tanveer Ahmad Kitchloo, a resident of Kishtwar, told IANS over telephone.

Zubaida Begum of Navapachi was among first to take the flight from Kishtwar, where she was brought last week for medical treatment.

“It feels great to go back safe to my home by helicopter. Otherwise I would have to wait for an indefinite number of days to go back home as there is heavy snow fall along the route,” she said.

“But the fare is a bit too high for the poor people of the remote areas,” she added.

Her husband is a government employee but most of the people in the region are farmers or labourers and can only earn a living during six months of fair weather.

Amir Magrey of Marwah has been pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Bangalore for the last two years. He went to his home for the first time Wednesday since the course began.

“My village is cut off this time of the year, when I get a long vacation. It is so wonderful to be able to reach my home in just 20 minutes from here. It otherwise takes two-three days,” he said.

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