Expressing concern over hurdles created due to web of high-tension wires during aerial evacuation of stranded tourists in landslide-hit Kinnaur district, urban development minister Sudhir Sharma on Wednesday shot off a letter to the chief minister urging him to take immediate steps to remove the wires that hampered the safe landing of helicopters.
Drawing government attention, Sharma referred to the problems faced by pilots of the Indian Air Force and the state-hired Pawan Hans's choppers, saying they were unable to detect high-tension wires during dense fog.
There are over a dozen helipads in Kinnaur district, but the helicopters could not land those located in difficult terrain. All these helipads are operated by the Army, SSB, ITBP, Jaypee Power and the state government.
At present, only three helipads are being used - Pooh, Reckong-Peo and Sangla.
Helicopters could fly only on five of them that include Pooh, Sangla, Nako Giabong and Reckong Peo. Pilots could not land at helipdas in Rookling, Choltu, Choling and Kracham.
The Hindustan Times had reported on June 25 about the difficulties being faced by the pilots in landing choppers in poor visibility to land in strategic helipads to rescue the stranded people. “I came to know about the problem faced by choppers in landing in the interior areas and later confirmed at personal level,” said Sharma.
“During the previous tenure also, we had drawn a proposal for having dedicated transmissions lines for each river basin instead of creating a web of wires,” he added.
He added that it was a major problem and could be a major hurdle in carrying out relief and rescue operations in the district in near future. Kinnaur has four commissioned hydropower projects, including Nathpa-Jhakri project, Karcham-Wangtu, Baspa and Sanjay Vidyut projects, while under-construction hydropower projects include Shorang, Chiddang, Kashang and Shong Tong.
Sharma said wires over the hills should be regulated and one streamlined gateway of wires should be made to reduce the mess of wires. Sources said the state government was also considering a plan to make gateway of wires emerging out of Himachal Pradesh from hydropower stations.