Followed SOP, cable car crash an “act of God”: official

Srinagar/Nagpur, June 26 (PTI) A day after seven persons died in a tragic cable car crash in Gulmarg in Kashmir, officials incharge of the ropeway claimed that safety norms were followed and the accident can be best explained as an “act of God”.

The Jammu and Kashmir government had yesterday ordered a probe into the incident in which four of a Delhi family and three local youth had lost their lives.

“There was no deviation from the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). The weather suddenly turned bad and strong winds caused the uprooting of a tree that fell on the cable,” Director, Tourism, Mehmood Shah said.

General Manager of the Jammu and Kashmir Cable Car Corporation, Reyaz Ahmad, said the accident was an “act of God”.

“We always follow the safety manual and never operate the cable car if any risk is involved. The uprooting of the tree due to abrupt blowing of high velocity wind, which led to the accident, can at best be explained as an act of God,” Ahmad said.

Police have registered a case into the incident and started investigations into whether there was any violation of SOP.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has yesterday ordered a probe and also announced ex-gratia relief of Rs five lakh in favour of next of kin of the killed.

Meanwhile, the bodies of the four members of a Delhi- based family, who died in the accident, have been brought today evening to Nagpur, the city the deceased hailed from.

Jayant Andraskar (42), his wife Manisha (38), their daughters Anagha (4) and Janhvi (7), and three local tourist guides had died in the Gulmarg accident.

Their bodies were brought to Nagpur around 5.15 pm in a Jet Airways flight for last rites.

The Andraskars hailed from Nagpur, but had shifted to the national capital seven years ago after Jayant started working in the Directorate of Technical Education there.

His wife was a homemaker. One of their daughters was a student of class I, while the other was in playschool.

With the news of their death, a pall of gloom descended on Old Subhedar layout area here, where his family members, including his parents and siblings, live.

Jayant’s brother-in-law Saurabh Wandhare told PTI that they were supposed to come to Nagpur on June 29 to attend his (Jayant’s) mother-in-law’s death anniversary.

“Jayant and his family members were on a vacation in Nagpur between May 12 and June 6 and they also attended my marriage last month,” he said.

One of the neighbours remembers Jayant as a good and humble person.

“He was very respectful towards others,” he said.

Sachin, one of Jayant’s cousins, said, “Before joining the Directorate of Technical Education in Delhi seven years back, Jayant had taught in an engineering college in Nagpur and had also worked in Nagpur Improvement Trust.”

Assistant professor Mahendra Umre, who had worked with Jayant when he was teaching in the engineering college, said, “He was a very hardworking and ambitious person with a lot of technical knowledge. His untimely demise is saddening.”

The Andraskars, who lived in Shalimar Bagh in northwest Delhi, had gone to Kashmir for holidaying on June 22.

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