Over 3,000 rescue workers, which included mountaineers of specialised forces of the Army, ITBP and CRPF, engaged in tracing the missing helicopter carrying Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Dorjee Khandu on Tuesday, the fourth consecutive day, failed to reach three possible locations where Sukhoi jets and Isro satellites have found “metallic traces” in the hills of the frontier state.
Disclosing this to reporters, Union minister V. Narayanasamy said, “We have been trying our level best but inclement weather and snowfall in the hills of Arunachal Pradesh has not allowed us to use our aerial options.”
Asserting that the government of India was very serious to trace the missing chief minister, Mr Narayanasamy said, “The Sukhoi which traced the helicopter crash site of the late Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S.R. Reddy has also been brought but it failed to fly due to thick cloud in the area. In the first sortie, which it could make, it has identified a location in Bhutan. We are approaching the location which is at the height of nearly 13,000 feet.”
He said, “We have not left any stone unturned.” Refusing to make any comment over the satellite phone call, Mr Narayanasamy said, “We are focusing on search operations. All these controversies will be looked in to later.”
He, however, avoided direct reply to a pointed question that satellite call claim was the prime reason that delayed the search operation by a full 24 hours.
He also informed that they are exploring the possibility of taking help of China in tracing the missing helicopter.
Realising the growing unrest among the local people over the delay and conflicting report during the initial days, Mr Narayanasamy also refuted the charges of making a false claim over the actual strength of security personnel deployed in ground search operation.
Defence sources, however, claimed that their search parties have reached close to Banglajan and Nagajiji, both near Sela Pass. “Though massive snowfall has slowed down their movement, they are advancing towards the site,” sources said.
Meanwhile, angry civil rights activists and influential student groups in Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday asked the Central government to take China’s help. in tracking down the helicopter that went missing with chief minister Dorjee Khandu on board three days ago.
“If India is not capable of tracing the helicopter, they should not hesitate to take China’s help so that we could get technological support from them in locating the copter,” said Mr Takam Tatung, president of the All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union. Asian Age