The Army said that of the nearly 5,500 Army men engaged in rescue and relief operations in quake-hit Sikkim, 18 Army aviators led by Col Sanjay Vadhera and Col Saleem Shaikh with their pilots are at the forefront of the casualty evacuation.
Col Vadhera and his pilots are flying four Advanced Light helicopters and Col Saleem Z Shaikh with his pilots operating five Cheetah helicopters, a defence release said in Kolkata.
The aviators have so far rescued 83 tourists and evacuated 36 casualties. In addition, the pilots have flown 83 members of various composite teams into inaccessible areas of North Sikkim.“We are ferrying up radio equipment and have airlifted nearly 7,600 KGs of medical supplies so far,” said Col Vadhera who flew in to the affected areas from Misamari near Tezpur in Assam.”My pilots are all eager to save more lives,” said Col Shaikh whose helicopters are otherwise operational from Sevok road, near Siliguri, routinely.
The Army medical corps, which has deployed 34 medical detachments and relief camps in various places in Sikkim, has so far treated nearly 250 out-patients.
Meanwhile, the Centre has made a special allocation of 2,800 tonnes of foodgrains at a cheaper rate for earthquake-hit Sikkim at BPL (below poverty line) prices, an official statement said, adding that wheat has been allocated at Rs 4.15 per kg and rice Rs 5.65 per kg.