UDHAMPUR: On 6 Jan 2012 Jammu and Kashmir experienced excessive Snow fall, which resulted in power failure in entire Srinagar valley. A requisition from State government was received by the IAF to assist Power Grid Corporation of India in their efforts to restore the power supply to the valley.
The IAF took on this challenging task and carried out helicopter recce of the power lines from Ramban to Banihal. A tower near Ramsu village was identified as the damaged tower. Since there was no helipad / landing site near the tower it was decided that the repair team would be winched down from the helicopter.
It was important that the repair team be dropped close to the tower as there was heavy snow in that region and dropping the personnel at road head would have resulted in waste of precious time in hand. This was a first of its kind operation wherein the helicopter was being used to facilitate power restoration. Wing Commander Nitin Welde led the mission and Flight Lieutenant R Nainwal assisted him as Copilot. Squadron Leader Abhijeet Kumar was the winch operator.
The crew carried out meticulous planning and embarked on the mission. The crew displayed superior flying skills and experience to winch down the repair party at the site on 08 Jan 11 at around 1630h. The task was extremely difficult as there were lot of obstructions around the site and varying winds made it further difficult for the crew to hover steadily.
The repair party was able to do the repairs within few hours and the power supply to entire Srinagar valley was restored on night of 08 Jan12. A similar task was undertaken by the IAF helicopter on 09 Jan 12 wef 0930h to 1545h in winching down four personnel from a height of 7-8 feet for further repair of the tower. Once again the IAF displayed professionalism and their dedication to service to the nation by carrying out this challenging task. The power was restored a result unflinching efforts and devotion to duty by all the IAF personnel involved in this operation.