Facing snow storms with courage

The report “Fear of snow storm” (Jan 25) reminds me of the horrible nightmare of 1979 when the entire Lahaul valley was helpless before the dreadful act of nature. I lost my daughter in the episode. I was in the Army then. I was called back home and reached my native village Yurnath by an IAF helicopter, a week after the disaster.

I still recollect the images of my ill-fated village. Three-fourths of the village had been wiped away by the killer avalanche. People from neighbouring village and a few government employees along with some school children from Keylong were engaged in rescue operations — excavating the snow mixed with rubble and taking the bodies out of it. That day, the villagers managed to rescue a 12-year-old boy who had a terrible experience.

I took voluntary retirement from the services and decided to serve my family and village instead. At present we are camping in a winter rescue club at Keylong. We help the needy and the administration, making best use of our limited resources.




The need of the hour is a highly scientific rescue-cum-crisis management plan by the government in close cooperation with local clubs and NGOs like ours. Only then, we can provide a happy and secured life in the valley, especially during the winter season.

NORBOO PAANS, President, Lahaul Mountaineering & Skiers Club, Keylong (Lahaul-Spiti)


I was studying Class VII at Lahaul 25 years ago. After the most auspicious winter festival, Fagli, it snowed for six days and nights, followed by a severe earthquake, causing massive avalanches. Over 250 people were killed at Yurnath, Waring Garang, Yangla, Janda and other villages.

The Tribune report (Jan 25) does not mention some ground realities. First, during the last week of January, the Lahaul Valley experienced a very negligible precipitation. It snowed hardly 3-5 inches in the inhabited belt and there was no threat of avalanche as such.

Secondly, the threat of avalanche here in mid-winter is a myth. Maybe, one may experience them in late winter (February last week to April first week). There is no need for panic among those residing on Rohtang’s other side.

And finally, centuries of struggle and the urge for survival have inculcated the natural instinct within the people of this area to face and fight any kind of extreme weather condition.

AMARJEET, Snow-Cock Adventures, Keylong

EPF interest hike welcome

Apropos of the editorial “EPF interest rate” (Feb 4), the Union Government’s decision to raise the rate of interest from 8.5 per cent to 9.5 per cent on the Employees’ Provident Fund is most welcome. It will benefit about four crore subscribers and will induce them to save more.

As regards the bank interest rate, senior citizens have a grouse. They say that, earlier, they were being paid one per cent higher rate of interest over the normal rate on their bank deposits but the erstwhile NDA government reduced it to half per cent. The UPA government should restore the benefit of one per cent in the forthcoming Union Budget for 2005-2006.

Similarly, a higher rate of interest may be provided to senior citizens on their fixed term deposits in post offices also.


Bad roads

The roads in Ramnagar area of Dharamshala are bad. Most of them have been dug up for laying sewerage pipelines. This has affected smooth traffic flow in this area. It is very difficult for even a small car to be maneuvered through the damaged narrow roads. The authorities seem to be blind to this problem.

In today’s world, all developmental work can be undertaken without causing inconvenience to the people. However, it seems most work gets awarded to small-time contractors who do not have the wherewithal to execute the same in a scientific way. This must stop.



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