Thousands throng IAF base for safe passage out of Valley

Thousands throng IAF base for safe passage out of ValleySRINAGAR: Carrying bags and some other belongings, thousands of people from the state have thronged the area outside the IAF base here in anticipation of being airlifted out of the flood-ravaged Kashmir Valley.

Some of them are lucky to find a place on IAF planes but many keep waiting and security forces are having a tough time in controlling them.

And their number just keeps increasing, with people walking miles to reach the airport where the IAF is running scores of sorties, including by the strategic heavy lift C-17 Globemaster III aircraft along with the C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft.

Mohd Irshad, who hails from Muzaffarnagar, is one of them.

He along with 10 others from his district came to Kashmir nearly a month back to sell electronic items like watches. They were staying in Habba Kadal, a downtown area of Srinagar.

“After flooding started, we left the place and moved to other places in search of safety. Then we heard that IAF is airlifting people out of the Valley and so we came to the airport,” he says as he awaits his chance.

His associate Ishrat Ali adds, “We were told that Army is evacuating people for free. But they are refusing to take us.

When asked who told them that they would be evacuated for free, he had no answer.

Rabbani, a mason from Kishanganj district of West Bengal, is also among those aspiring to be evacuated. He has 11 other associates.

A first-timer in Kashmir, he was working at construction site in Peer Bagh area when floods occurred.

Thousands of others like him are waiting outside the airbase for an opportunity to be flown out.

Having flocked the area, they are provided food there itself.

In the process, garbage dumps have come up in the area.

IAF officials said all the assets possible including the Antonov-32 and Avro transport aircraft along with the fleet of helicopters including world’s largest chopper Mi-26 have been pressed into action for airlifting people.–PTI

0 - 0

Thank You For Your Vote!

Sorry You have Already Voted!