High altitude avalanche preparedness training held at Gulmarg

GULMARG: Gulmarg Development Authority (GDA) organised a one-day high altitude avalanche preparedness training at Gulmarg, today. The programme was inaugurated by Chief Executive Officer, GDA, Mehmood Ahmed Shah. The training was conducted by Mr. SC Bhan, Senior Scientist and Deputy. Director General, IMD, Govt of India. Experts from Divisional Disaster Management Authority and SASE also participated. The training was imparted to joint ski-rescue patrol parties of GDA, Tourism, Police, YSS and Cable Car Project. The participants were sensitised about various aspects of avalanches, their forecasting and precautions required to be taken. Moreover, the rescuers were also taught the procedure for conducting probing, in case anyone is caught in an avalanche. This is the first time that such training programme has been conducted at Gulmarg. 

The participants appreciated Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Dr Asgar Hassan Samoon for facilitating the training. Mr Bhan from IMD informed that avalanche forecasting in hilly areas of Kashmir has improved to a great extent and the warnings are issued by SASE to Divisional Disaster Management Authority, who in turn disseminates the information for the general public, through media. He urged that precautions should necessarily be followed, as and when avalanche warnings are issued, so as to ensure the there is no loss of life. CEO Gulmarg appreciated the guest faculty for educating the rescuers and hoped that the rescue teams would work in a coordinated manner to ensure that rescue operations are carried out in the minimum possible time.

He clarified that only the high peaks of Gulmarg are prone to Avalanches and not the Gulmarg bowl. He said that since there is a heavy influx of expert foreign tourists, who prefer to high altitude skiing and even prefer heli-skiing and such high reaches can be prone to avalanches, as such it is necessary to have proper trained rescuers, who can respond in such mishaps. He said that in order to remain better prepared for the ensuing winter it was felt necessary to conduct this orientation programme. He lauded the role of the joint rescue teams for their role in 2008, when a major avalanche had struck HAWS Khilanmarg, in which 18 lives were lost and many injured were rescued by the joint rescue patrol teams.

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