IAF helps restore power supply in Kashmir Valley

Jammu, Jan 24 (IANS) An Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter Thursday airlifted power grid personnel to snowbound areas near Banihal Pass for repairing transmission lines to restore electricity supply to the Kashmir Valley, an official said.

"Due to heavy snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir, life in the entire region was thrown out of gear, with Srinagar having partial power failure due to the high tension (power) lines at Banihal Pass getting buried under snow," the official said.

When approached by the Power Grid Corporation of India, the Indian Air Force pressed into service its 'Cheetah' helicopter for the mission to airlift a repair team to Banihal top to carry out repairs on the 300 MW power line.

The helicopter airdropped seven personnel near the spot and brought them back safely after completion of work.

"The mission involved a high degree of risk in dropping these personnel close to high tension (wire) at about 10,000 feet near Banihal Pass in an area known for high turbulence and strong winds," a defence spokesman said.

The IAF first undertook a recce of the area Wednesday, close to the buried power lines in the snow-bound area.

"In spite of lack of visual references, sub-zero temperatures, adverse wind conditions, coupled with high density of obstructions, the whole operation was accomplished with precise accuracy," the spokesman said.