At least eight people were killed and over 50 are missing after a massive landslide hit the 107 Territorial Army (TA) camp in Noney district of Manipur early Thursday morning, officials said, adding that the death toll is likely to increase.
The TA was deployed near Tupul Railway Station in Noney district for the protection of the under-construction railway line.
According to defence officials, 13 soldiers of Territorial Army and five civilians have been rescued, while eight dead bodies were recovered, they include seven TA soldiers and one railway worker engaged in Imphal-Jiribam railway project.
Sources said that 19 people were rescued till Thursday evening while more than 50 people including children and villagers, were reportedly still missing. As engineering equipment including dozers have been pressed into service for creating access to the incident site, the defence statement said that relentless search operations will continue during the night.
Meanwhile, deputy commissioner Noney said that massive debris has blocked the Ejai River, creating a reservoir that may inundate low-lying areas.
Medical personnel, National Disaster Response Force, State Disaster Response Force personnel, police and district officials were rushed to the site.
Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh held an emergency meeting to assess the situation of the landslide and rushed to area to oversee the rescue operations.
Ex-gratia: Singh said that the government has decided to provide ex-gratia of Rs. 5 lakhs to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs. 50,000 to the injured persons.
He further said that all the expenses including medical treatment etc. of the injured persons will be borne by the State government.
Further, GOC-in-C Eastern Command, Lt Gen RP Kalita and GOC Spear Corps, Lt Gen RC Tiwari also moved to the incident site and took stock of the rescue efforts.
PM assures help: Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the landslide situation with chief minister N Biren Singh and assured full possible support from the central government.
“…Assured all possible support from the Centre. I pray for the safety of all those affected. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon,” Modi tweeted.
Union Home minister Amit Shah also spoke to Manipur CM and Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on the incident and assured all possible assistance.