Srinagar, Jan 7 (GNS): The eleven precious lives lost to avalanche at Sadna Top in north Kashmir could have been saved, locals said on Sunday.

They regretted government’s non-seriousness in building the tunnel to bypass the treacherous track as well as questioned government for not issuing the avalanche warning.

“No avalanche warning was issued by the administration and had it been done, the precious lives could have been saved,” Abdul Khaliq Mir, a local resident, told GNS.

Station House Officer (SHO) Waseem Ahmad Buddoo told news GNS that there was around one-foot snow in the area and had there been an avalanche warning, traffic would not have been allowed.

“As precautionary measure, we always stop traffic on the road whenever there is avalanche warning but there was none this time around,” the officer added.

Snow & Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) Chandigarh, which provides avalanche forecasting, said that it issues “medium and high degree” avalanche warnings. “There was low level avalanche warning and “Chowkibal based army unit was informed about.”

“We were not expecting avalanche of the magnitude which occurred near Sadhna Top. Normally we share medium and high degree avalanche warning with National Disaster Management Authority,” an officer of SASE told Srinagar-based news agency GNS over phone from Chandigarh.

He added: “There was low level avalanche warning and it was shared with the Chokibal based army unit.”

Meanwhile, Bashir Ahmad, another resident of Tanghdar said successive governments have been delaying construction of Tunnel despite promises during elections.

“The entire area is avalanche prone. A tunnel will make Tangdhar accessible throughout the year and whether avalanche warning is issued or not will be meaningless if the tunnel is constructed,” he said.

Eleven persons including a beacon official were killed in separate avalanches near Sadhna Top in Tangdar sector on Friday. (GNS)