IAF helicopter drops ration in remote Himachal hamlet Bara Bhangal


Dharamshala: A high level administrative team lead by DC Kangra and accompanied by SSP of the district made a safe landing at Bara Bhangal on Thursday and handed over ration to the Village pradhan there for distribution to the people of the this remote village settlement in Kangra district, where there has been an acute shortage of ration owing to closure of trekking routes following heavy snowfall in September. Around 3.50 quintal of food was provided to the people of the village.

But the Indian Air Force (IAF) chopper which provided the food material at Bara Bhangal inside the Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary could not had its second flight due to heavy clouds on the Dhouladhar ranges.

DC said, “ Helicopter hovered over jalsu, Kalahan, thamsar passes and muraldhar, and none is seen strandered. There are 20-22 flocks in and around Bara Bhangal and all are safe.Barabhangal Fare price shop holder has ration to all these shepherds. 5.50 pockets of dry/ready to eat food stuff handed over to FPS holder/ Pradhan Bara Bhangal for distribution to shepherds. Smt Bhimo devi(70 yr) & Smt Mnagla devi, who are facing health problem, are brought back to Dharamshala air port from Bara Bhangal for further treatment .”

DC Kangra Kangra Deputy Commissioner Sandeep Kumar told that on Tuesday state government requested the Defence Ministry to provide a helicopter for dropping the relief material as there was possibility that people might have run out of supplies.

Yesterday in his In his message to Chief secretary of Himachal, DC Kangra ,Sandeep has written, “It is learnt that due to sudden and untimely snowfall over Dhauladhar ranges, some shepherds are unable to cross over towards Kangra valley from Bara Bhangal (the northen Side across the Dhouladhar ranges). There is a possibility that they may have run out of their food stock. Some heard of sheep and cattle have been stated to have died. One Shepherd from Paddar is also dead on the other side of Chhota bhangal.”

The official ruled out media reports of starvation, mainly among shepherds, with the closure of pathways after the snowfall in the region.

Ahead of winter’s onset, many of Bara Bhangal residents migrate to Bir in Baijnath subdivision of Kangra district through around 60 kms trek, near Palampur town which is 40kms from here . This time the snowfall was well in advance and people were caught unaware. Bara Bhangal is also accessible through the Thamsar Pass, located at an attitude of 4,700 metres. Sheep and cattle rearing is the main occupation of these people the area who are nomads.

Government official said that the two shepherds were on the way back to lower areas of Kangra when they were caught in heavy snow between Bara Bhangal and Kalahandi hills last week. Kalahandi was covered under four feet of snow.

SDM, Baijnath, Vikas Shukla said two search parties had reached the spot and information provided to his office revealed that over 500 sheep had perished. Shukla said the parties had also spotted the body of a shepherd who was buried in the snow last week. He said because of the difficult topographical conditions and bad weather, it was not possible to extract the body and bring it back to Baijnath.

Inder Gopal, another shepherd, who was also traped in that snow storm of 22nd September and somehow reached Baijnath with snow bites accompanied the team in that helicopter today. Gopal said that their family had taken about 500 sheep and goats to Bara Bhangal. However, sudden rain and snow on September 21 and 22 blocked the path. Since most of the bridges over the rivers in the area had collapsed, they could bring back just 50 sheep and goats.

After the return of the Helicopter DC said, “Air retrieval of deceased over muraldhar not possible as there is no safe landing site.”