Imphal: A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between North Frontier Railways, Noney District Administration and Makhuam Village Authority at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat on Wednesday in presence of chief minister N Biren Singh, relief and disaster management minister Awangbow Newmai and Hill Areas Committee (HAC) chairman Diganglung Gangmei.
The MoU was regarding the charter of demands put forth by the Makhuam Village authority in the matter of addressing issues arising out of the recent massive landslide that occurred at Maranching, Noney District. The MoU was signed by Chief Engineer, North Frontier Railway (NFR) Sandeep Sharma on Railways behalf, Deputy Commissioner, Noney District Haulianlal Guite for District Administration, Noney and Chairman, Makhuam Village Authority Lanranglung Gondaimei on behalf of village authority.
The MoU signed included that until permanent employment could be provided to the next of kin, the Railways would ensure providing contractual employment in one of its construction agencies near the site, the Railways with Noney/Kangpokpi District Administration and the village authority shall jointly survey and assess the extent of the damage done and submit the same to railways for compensation. The other points of MoU included the Railways to hold extensive discussion with IIT Guwahati, Manipur University and other like-minded institutions to have a detailed investigation for working out how the hill slopes adjacent to Railways boundaries in the Jiribam-Imphal project can be better monitored so that early warning can be given for any untoward event in the future.
Environment Impact assessment (EIA) and Social Impact Assessment (SIA) shall be revisited in the light of this landslide.
According to the MoU, the Railways shall also provide for the funeral expenses that may be incurred in the customary rites of burial and cleansing by the Makhuam village authority. Further, the three children orphaned by the landslide will be provided educational fees which will be deposited in their respective next of kin’s bank accounts so that their education may continue uninterrupted till graduation and the children will also be put up in the Rengpang Residential School.
Speaking on the occasion, CM Biren Singh thanked all the personnel of various organisations, villagers and CSOs of the Marangjing area involved in the search and rescue operation for their tireless efforts to trace the missing bodies. Recalling the unfortunate landslide incident at Marangjing in Noney district occurred in the midnight of June 29, 2022, he informed that a total of 79 persons were affected out of which 18 injured persons were rescued alive and evacuated to hospitals. He continued that out of 61 missing bodies, 56 bodies had been recovered in the search and rescue operation conducted for more than 20 days till today and five are still missing.
The chief minister mentioned that after thorough discussion with all the stakeholders, the government had decided to officially close the rescue operation today. However, individual efforts to retrieve the missing properties, machineries, etc could still be carried on by any organization or agency, he added. Stating the official number of deceased persons in the landslide as 61, he assured that the state government would take up all necessary steps for the deceased and the injured persons.
Prior to signing of the MoU, CM Biren Singh held a meeting with all stakeholders, including relief and disaster management minister Awangbow Newmai, HAC chairman Diganglung Gangmei, additional chief secretary MH Khan, Chief Engineer, NFR, Brigade Commander, Leimakhong, DC and SP Noney, President (RNYO), NDRF Commander and representatives of Makhuam Village Authority to discuss on each issue flagged by Makhuam Village Authority.
It may be mentioned that more than 700 personnel from various organisations were engaged in the search and rescue operation with more than 43 machines. CM Biren Singh had also earlier announced ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of Kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured persons. In addition, Rs 30 lakh were also sanctioned for management of the search and rescue operations. For those cases, where the bodies are still not found consisting of one Territorial Army, three villagers and one VSC, the ex-gratia may be paid after observing necessary enquiry and formalities which would take a period of 30 -35 days.
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