The search and rescue operation for soldiers
trapped by as snow avalanche in Kinnaur district Himachal Pradesh has been
called off. Soldiers of Jammu and Kashmir Rifles were buried under the
avalanche at Shipki La near the Sino-India border on February 20. Shipki La is
a mountain pass and border post on the India-China border.
A snow avalanche is a rapid downslope movement
of a large detached mass of snow, ice, and associated debris such as rocks and
Avalanche is caused when the force of gravity on
the snow cover exceeds its mechanical strength. The necessary factors for an avalanche
are a) snow cover, b) a weak layer in the snow cover, and c) a trigger to
initiate movement and d) steep slope. Convex slopes are more susceptible to
avalanches than concave slopes.
Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand
are among the most avalanche vulnerable regions in India. The responsibility of dealing with the different
aspects of avalanches rests with the Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment
(SASE), Chandigarh. SASE is a laboratory of the Defence Research &
Development Organization (DRDO). The functions of SASE include a) Research in
the field of avalanches, b) zonation of avalanche prone areas c) Avalanche
forecasting, c) provide avalanche control techniques, d) generating awareness.
Central and state governments in association with
the Border Road Organization are responsible for implementing clearance and
control strategies against identified snow avalanches.