Imphal: At least eight bodies, including seven Territorial Army personnel, were recovered after a massive landslide in Manipur’s Noney district, triggered by incessant rains over the past few days, buried dozens of people alive on Thursday, officials said.
At least 23 others were injured and rescued as rescue operations by the Central and state agencies were on at full pace.
According to local media reports, at least 51 more people are still missing.
A defence spokesman said that the mortal remains of seven Territorial Army soldiers and a civilian have been recovered and relentless search operations would continue during the night.
He said that engineering equipment, including bulldozers, have been pressed into service for creating access to the incident site and helping in rescue efforts.
The administration has cautioned civilians living in downstream areas of the Ijei river to evacuate due to the likelihood of a breach in the dam created on the river by the landslide.
Army’s Eastern Command chief, Lt Gen R.P. Kalita and Spear Corps commander, Lt Gen R.C. Tiwari reached the incident site and took stock of the rescue efforts.
Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh also visited the incident site, for first-hand inputs on the rescue operations and announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the dead and Rs 50,000 for the injured.
Noney Deputy Commissioner Haulianlal Guite said the landslide occurred at the Tupul Yard Railway construction camp.
The landslide also obstructed the course of the Ijei river which flows through Tamenglong and Noney districts. As the situation is still unfolding, the Deputy Commissioner has warned the general public, especially children, against going near the river.
If the situation further deteriorates, it would wreak havoc on the low-lying areas of Noney district, he added.
People have also been advised against travelling along the National Highway 37 due to multiple road blockages due to landslides.
The district administration has also opened several helpline numbers for the affected people to call for assistance.
The under-construction Tupul station building, track formation and camps of construction workers got damaged as a result of the massive landslide.