Bandipora, Feb 6: Large number of people are stuck in snow bound Gurez Valley.
They include students, people with emergencies, and those who are seriously ill. The locals allege that no chopper has flown into Gurez Valley since the snowfall blocked it for surface access in early January. They also alleged that administrative 'insensitivity' was to be blamed for keeping stranded passengers in 'perpetual distress.'
"It has been almost a month that people are waiting for the helicopters to lift them from the valley but apart from a few army sorties nothing has been arranged for people with other numerous emergencies," a head of the PRI's association in Gurez Abul Raheem Lone told Greater Kashmir.
There were patients in the Valley who needed specialised care in facilities outside the Valley, such as district headquarters or Srinagar, according to sources in the health department who preferred to remain anonymous.
Moreover, there are around 20 or more job aspirants stuck in Gurez's Tulail, Bagtore and other villages, who have exams scheduled on 7th February which are conducted by SSB. The students despite moving to every office have been met with disappointment.
20-year-old Burhan Ahmad Magray, a job seeker in the transport department says, "It feels as if all hopes have been dashed," Magray's test is scheduled on 7th February but it seems unlikely he will be able to make it.
"We knocked every department in the Valley you can name, even the army," Magray said with a voice filled with disappointment. "How can an SDM avail an army chopper to move out leaving all us here frustrated," Magray asked.
He added that “although we were promised two special flights on 5th February, despite clear weather the helicopter did not land.” They were told the weather wasn't favourable. "It was sunny and the weather was not bad," Magray claimed.
Notably, there was an overnight snowfall of more than 1.5 feet in the valley. The snow removal efforts have already been drawn out by this. The BRO had begun clearing the snow on February 5 and estimated it would take 4-5 days, which now appears unlikely.
Raheem stated, "We do not understand why the administration has failed to send helicopters to the Valley during this winter season. If light helicopters couldn't fly, why didn't they take help from the army or air force? " he continued. People almost daily recount to him stories around being stuck which Raheem says are "heartbreaking."
As per the Deputy Commissioners office, they were trying their best so that helicopters could land in Gurez. However, the weather was playing a spoiler. The office said they had received applications from just five, although tentative dates for exams were issued well ahead by SSB.
"We are trying our best but even yesterday a chopper had to return from Razdan Top," Deputy Commissioner Bandipora, Owais Ahmad told Greater Kashmir.