Snow at Sela Pass hampers traffic movement

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BRO team carried out rescue operations for snow clearance

HT Correspondent

TEZPUR, Dec 30: Heavy snow fall has wreaked havoc in western Arunachal Pradesh, where the officials of Border Roads Organisation in on the job to clear the roads for smooth traffic movement.

The worst of the weather seem to have been at Sela Pass, and the Balipara- Chariduar -Tawang road which is located at an altitude of 4195 mtr, 13760Ft above sea level is one of the worst affected.

The cold weather conditions during the winters sets in as early as October and lasts till end of May and remains too cold with the temperature ranging from 15’ to 5’ C which results in continuous cold breeze and intermittent rainfall/snowfall.

The road stretch for at least 20 km length on either side of Sela Pass experiences moderate to heavy snowfall, which hampers the traffic movement, most of the time.

Of late the Sela Pass has experienced extreme bad weather since the beginning of month of December. The average snowfall recorded around 20 km stretch on either side of Sela Pass during this month ranged from 10 cm to 40 cm.

The Border Roads Organisation are tirelessly carrying out rescue operations and crisis management on the ground to help movement of any civil as well as army vehicle stuck on road due to skidding and thus averting long traffic jams.

The Border Roads Organisation team carrying out rescue operation 90 RCC comprises of 2 Officers, 4 JE and 20 other Ranks deployed on daily basis for snow clearance and ensuring smooth flow of traffic at Sela Pass.

The area between 17 Mile and Natu La along the Jawahar Lal Nehru Marg received heavy snow fall on 28 December, a report from Gangtok said.

This led to 300 – 400 civil vehicles getting stranded near 17 Mile carrying over 2500 tourists who were returning after visit to Natu La Pass along the Indo-China border.

The Indian Army immediately swung into action to provide rescue and relief to the stranded tourists including food, shelter, warm clothing and medicines.  The tourists included women, children and elderly persons.  1500 tourists have been accommodated at 17 Mile, while the balance tourists are at 13 Mile.

Indian Army has also provided two sets of JCBs and dozers of BRO for snow clearance and restoration of road connectivity. The troops of the Indian Army have vacated their own barracks for accommodating the Tourist and are involved in safe evacuation of the stranded Tourist.  Food and Medical facilities along with necessary clothing were also provided to the tourist.

As per Indian Army, the evacuation operation will continue till all stranded tourists are safely moved out towards Gangtok.

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