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Sunday, 23 September, 2007

10 killed, 14 injured in Kargil truck accident

KARGIL, Sept 21: Ten labourers were killed and 14 others sustained injuries, four of them critically, when a truck carrying them skidded off the road and plunged into 200 feet deep gorge near Namkila on Leh-Kargil road under the jurisdiction of Wagan Police Post early this morning.
The ill-fated vehicle bearing registration number JK02G-4645 was on its way from Leh to Srinagar when near Namkila the vehicle plunged into a deep gorge killing 10 labourers on the spot and wounding 14 others including conductor and owner of the truck.
On the recept of information about the accident, a police party from Wagan Police Post rushed to the spot and started rescue operation with the help of local people. SSP Kargil Gareeb Dass rushed to the spot and supervised relief and rescue operation.
It took about four hours to the rescue teams to bring out the injured labourers as well as dead bodies from the gorge. All the injured were rushed to local hospital and 10 of them were, later, shifted to District Hospital Kargil for specialised treatment.
The condition of four of them was stated to be critical when reports last came in.
The deceased have been identified as Methi Ram (driver of the vehicle), a resident of Nanak Nagar Jammu, Ram Lal Rai, son of Jagdev Rai, Mehtu Nissar, Mukesh, Janardhan Kumar, Harinder Madho, Nand Lal, Virender Ram, Hari Har and Piju Bhagwan, all the residents of Bihar.
Of the 14 injured, 10 have been identified as Mohd Ramzan of Doda, Ravinder Kumar of Bihar, Amar Chand of Kishtwar, Hilal Ahmed of Sopore, Mishri Ram, Shrawan Kumar, Manoj Kumar, all the residents of Bihar, owner of the truck Gurcharan Singh, son of Lekh Singh of Jammu and Riaz Ahmed of Doda.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad expressed shock over the tragic road accident near Namkila on Kargil- Leh road.
The Chief Minister expressed sympathies with the bereaved families and prayed for eternal peace to the departed souls.
He issued instructions to the health authorities for providing best possible medicare to the injured for their speedy recovery.

Thursday, 13 September, 2007

Siachen glacier thrown open to public

Sept 12: Siachen, the world’s highest battlefield and an inhospitable terrain, has been thrown open to public.
Trekkers can now go up to the icy heights of the second largest glacier in the mighty Karakoram Range in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, a dreaded place till four years ago because of continuous shelling from Pakistan.
A group of 20 intrepid civilians—teenage girls, NCC and Military Academy Cadets, housewives and corporate executives—would form the first batch to tread the glacial heights, where snow never melts, from September 19, Army officials said here today.
Though the Indian and Pakistani troops are at points across the 72-km long glacier, almost at eyeball to eyeball confrontation, peace has prevailed in the snowy heights for the past four years ever since a cease-fire is in force.
The group sponsored by the Army Adventure Cell and Indian Mountaineering Foundation would trek from the base to Kumar Camp located at a height of 16,000 feet,on the mid-glacier.
On their four day trudge across the glacier, the civilian trekkers would be guided by 10 Army glacial experts.
Though guns have fallen silent danger does lurk in the form of giant crevasses and shifting ice formations.
" We plan to open the glacier to similar civilian trekkers on a regular basis from next year", Army officials said.
Significantly, the move to throw open the glacier to public comes two years after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his maiden visit had expressed a desire that efforts should be made to turn the place into a "mountain of peace".
The first public trekking group would be in glacier from September 19 to October 11.
" The group would gather at Leh and undergo a weeklong acclimatization before reaching the Siachen base camp by road " Army officials said.
At base camp, they would undergo another spell of conditioning before venturing out to the glacier itself. The trekkers would set up four staging camps before reaching the Kumar point in the middle of the glacier.
For future trekkers, officials said that the upper age limit would be 40 and all adventurers would have to be medically and physically fit.
The trekking adventure, officials said, could be a prelude to throwing open the glacier even to foreign expeditions and climbing groups.
Four major climbing groups from various armies have approached the Government for clearance to attempt some over 7,500 peaks straddling the glacier.

Wednesday, 5 September, 2007

American tourist found dead

LEH, Sept 4: An American tourist was found dead under mysterious circumstances in a hotel in the heart of the town today.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Leh, Alok Kumar said that an American citizen, Robinson Michel Forbes, had been staying in the Auspicious Hotel since Sunday. "When the tourist didn’t open the door of his room despite repeated knocks by the hotel staff, the hotel Manager become suspicious", he added.
Later, the matter was brought to the notice of the police personnel, who entered the room by breaking the door. The tourist was found dead on the bed but there was no visible injury on the body, the SSP said.
The body was, later, shifted to general hospital where the post-mortem was conducted. The body has been kept in the mortuary.
"We are trying to ascertain the cause of American’s death", Mr Kumar said, adding "the American Embassy has been informed about the incident".
An inquest proceeding under Section 174 CrPC has been initiated in this regard.

Sunday, 2 September, 2007

Ladakh Festival begins with great fanfare

LEH, Sept 1: A record number of 42,000 tourists visited Leh till ending August 2007 and about 70,000 tourists were expected to visit Leh by end of this year.
This was stated by Chief executive Councilor LAHDC, Tsering Dorje while inaugurating Ladakh Festival-2007 at Leh Polo Ground. Besides thousands of local people about 2000 foreign tourists attended the function.
While extending welcome to tourists, the CEC Mr Dorje said true objective of Ladakh Festival was now bearing fruit. Pointing towards foreigners, he said that the sublime and smiling faces of Ladakhi people will find at every spot in Leh city and other villages to greet them. He urged the tourists to visit Leh in the coming years with their friends.
EC Tourism, Tsewang Rigzin in his welcome address dwelt at length about the festival and their recent press briefing at Srinagar and meeting with the Tour and Travel Association at Srinagar.. He said Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council was giving its utmost attention in making the Festival more attractive and putting it at World Tourists Map.
Director Tourism Kashmir Farooq Ahmed Shah, the guest of honour on the occasion, said that State Government was making every effort to put Ladakh Tourism, ahead of all. He said during Tourism Expo held recently at Behrain and Dubai, the tourism potential of Ladakh was given its due focus. He said Prime Minister’s special package under which Rs 20 crore each were given to set up Tourism Development Authority at Leh, Kargil and Zanskar, which would further give a boost to the tourism.
Deputy Commissioner Leh, Dr M K Bhandari, who is also chairman of the Festival committee, extended vote of thanks. A grand cultural procession and function was held on inaugural day of festival which will last for full 15 days.