Imphal: The death toll due to a massive landslide at a railway construction site in Manipur’s Noney district rose to 17 on Friday after 9 more bodies were recovered from the debris, officials said.
The incident took place at Tupul yard railway construction camp on Wednesday night. The landslide also struck the company location of 107 Battalion Territorial Army under 11 Gorkha Rifles, deployed near Tupul Railway Station in Noney district for protection of the under-construction railway line from Jiribam to Imphal.
Talking to EastMojo on Friday, Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh said: “Rescue operations have been going on since the incident, but we have not been able to reach the spot due to continuous rains and landslides. Rescuers have tried to reach some part of the area since yesterday and recovered 8 bodies yesterday and rescued 18 people. Nine more bodies have been recovered today. We are still looking for 55 more.”
Search operations by the Indian Army, Assam Rifles, Territorial Army, National Disaster Response Force and SDRF are underway as around 50 people are still missing, they said.
81 people were confirmed buried under the debris, of which 18 have been rescued alive so far. Eight bodies were recovered on Thursday, including those of seven Territorial Army personnel and a civilian from the incident site. Nine more bodies were recovered on Friday.
Two of the bodies recovered during the early morning search belong to the Territorial Army while others are yet to be identified. Rescue operations continue, amid poor weather conditions with the additional support of NRDF, Assam Rifles, district police, Indian Red Cross Society, local volunteers and others, an official said.
Thirteen Territorial Army personnel and five civilians have been rescued so far, he said.
Eastern Command General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Lt Gen RP Kalita met the injured Territorial Army personnel who were initially admitted to Liemakong Military Hospital on Thursday.
They are now being provided medical aid at the Assam Rifles Hospital at Mantripukhri, another official said.
Chief Minister N Biren Singh had announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each for the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each for those injured.
Governor La Ganesan condoled the deaths and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.
The massive debris has blocked the Ijei River, creating a reservoir that may inundate low-lying areas.
“Due to the unfortunate landslide where casualties are being reported and dozens buried alive, the flow of the Ijei River has also been obstructed by the debris, creating a dam-like storage condition, which if breached will wreak havoc to the low-lying areas of Noney district headquarters… an advisory issued by the deputy commissioner said on Thursday.
“… As the condition is still developing and the future is unknown, the general public is hereby advised to take their own precautions, and especially ensure children do not come out near the river. Whoever can evacuate are also advised to evacuate, it added.
It also advised travellers to avoid National Highway-37 due to multiple road blockages.
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