Braving snow-avalanches a challenge, says army

Braving snow-avalanches a challenge, says army

Snow and mud avalanches in Kashmir’s higher reaches are very common during winters.

The army on Tuesday said that the season’s first heavy snowfall in Kashmir may have closed all infiltration passes along the Line of Control, but has thrown up a major challenge of snow avalanches for its soldiers.

A senior army official told Greater Kashmir that every year snow avalanches throw a big challenge for the army after Kashmir’s higher reaches receive snowfall.

“Nobody can control nature. Snow avalanches are all natural, but they indeed are a challenge for us,” the official posted in army’s Udhampur headquarters said.

Snow and mud avalanches in Kashmir’s higher reaches are very common during winters.

A senior official at the Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE), well-versed with the topography of J&K, said that the state falls under a “high risk avalanche zone” given its vast mountain ranges, rivers, and ravines. 

“The districts near the Line of Control including Kupwara, Baramulla and Bandipora fall in hypersensitive zone as far as avalanche threat is concerned,” he said. “Our experts keep on issuing advisories to all concerned with regard to chances of snow avalanches.”

In January this year, the official said that SASE had issued a high danger avalanche warning ahead of the Gurez incident in which 20 soldiers had died. “Our all warnings are accurate and based on authentic research,” he said.

A source in the army said that all the precautionary measures have been taken to ensure that all its units are alert and that there is “less patrolling during periods of high danger avalanche warnings.”

“We have asked our soldiers and patrol parties on duty at the forward posts on the LoC, which are more prone to snow avalanches, to remain extra cautious. Hi-tech weather warning gadgets, water-proof gowns, latest communication system are some of the measures taken by the army to ensure safety of the soldiers,” he said. An army source said that there was earlier a proposal to examine whether some forward posts on the LoC which includes Keran, Tanghdar, Gurez, and Uri can be vacated to “avoid casualties.” But, he said, that given the “strategic location of entire LoC in Kashmir, the plan was shelved.”