Two labourers from Kishtwar die in Ganderbal avalanche

Both worked on a tunnel project; other workers shifted to safer places, says ADDC

Snowslide - Avalanche
Representational Image

GANDERBAL — The bodies of two labourers, who got buried under the debris after an avalanche hit the Sarbal area of central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district Thursday morning, were recovered. Both were found dead.

An official, while speaking to the news agency KNO, said that Sandeep Singh, son of Munshi Ram and Bala Krishna, son of Bansi Lal, both residents of Kishtwar were killed in an avalanche. They were working at the Megha tunnel project, he said.

The bodies were sent to the mortuary PHC Sonamarg for medico-legal formalities.

Earlier, soon after the avalanche, the Police, Army, SDRF, Beacon and the Megha tunnel project team launched a rescue operation. “The area was closed for the time being as a precautionary measure and the residents were advised to stay indoors and not to venture out unnecessarily,” the official said.

Meanwhile, in an effort to ensure the safety of workers in the Baltal area, Additional District Development Commissioner Ganderbal Mushtaq Ahmad said that all workers have been shifted to safer places.

According to Ahmad, 1275 workers employed by the company have been relocated so far. The ADDC provided an update on the retrieval of two missing workers. He said the bodies of the missing workers were located through the use of one worker’s mobile phone.

“We were tracking both the workers since we received the missing report, and around the evening, we were successful in tracking one of the workers through his mobile phone. Soon after some time, we retrieved another body, and hence both the missing dead bodies were retrieved,” he said.

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Despite the unfortunate circumstances, Mushtaq emphasized that all rescued individuals are safe and the situation is being closely monitored. “The cause of the workers’ disappearance is currently under investigation,” he added.

This incident serves as a reminder of the importance of safety measures for workers in potentially hazardous areas. The district administration has assured the public that they are taking all necessary steps to ensure the well-being of workers in the area.

Police Statement

Meanwhile, a police spokesperson in a statement said, “The snow avalanche triggered today from the upper reaches of the Ranga Morh and accumulated at Sarbal area of Sonamarg. Initially, no report of loss of life and property was there. However, later on, when the snow settled, the management of Megha tunnel company reported that two labourers of their company have reportedly gone missing and got buried under the snow.”

Sonamarg Police, ART teams of the Army and SDRF teams reached the spot and started a search and rescue operation, he said, adding, “The site was still vulnerable as small snow slides were still coming from the top of the hill. After strenuous efforts, one dead body was recovered from the snow. The deceased is identified as Sandeep Kumar son of Munshi Ram, resident of Sara Padar Kishtwar.”

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After some time, another missing person’s body was recovered from the site and the deceased has been identified as Bala Krishna son of Bansi Lal, resident of Gara Padar Kishtwar, the spokesperson said, adding that both missing bodies have been recovered by the rescue and search teams and the rescue and search operation has been stopped.

He further said that Megha company management has been asked to shift the workers to a safe location till the weather gets cleared.

“Helpline by District Police Ganderbal has already been issued in view of inclement weather. Till the weather improves, the general public has been advised not to venture out in vulnerable areas,” the police spokesperson said.

Lieutenant Governor expresses anguish

Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha, expressed anguish over the avalanche incident.

Taking to Twitter, the LG wrote, “I am deeply anguished to learn of the unfortunate incident of snow avalanche at Sonamarg in which a precious life has been lost. Army, Police and SDRF teams are engaged in search & rescue operations. (I) directed district administration to provide all necessary assistance to the affected persons.”

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