The toll in the landslide at a railway construction site in Manipur’s Noney district climbed to 29 on Saturday after eight more bodies were recovered from under the debris, officials said. Thirty-four people are still missing after a massive landslide hit the Tupul yard railway construction camp on the night of June 29. Inclement weather is affecting the search operations, officials said. Out of the eight bodies recovered during the day, five are of Territorial Army personnel and one of an employee of a construction company. The two others are yet to be identified.
The defence personnel were there to provide security to the construction site. Eight bodies were found on Thursday and 13 yesterday, an official said. He said that altogether 34 people, including 14 employees of two construction companies, five villagers and three of the railways, are still missing. Eighteen people were rescued from the site on Thursday. The search started at 4 am and rescue teams have been advised to proceed with caution. Rainfall since early Saturday morning has hampered the operations, the officials said.
Over 470 personnel, including those of the NDRF, SDRF, state police, the Assam Rifles and local volunteers, have been deployed in the search operation. Over 30 excavators are being used to clear the debris which blocked the Ijai river, forming dam-like storage and threatening the people living nearby. Earth-movers have been brought in to remove the debris, and create a channel to allow the flow of water from there, officials said. A defence spokesperson at Guwahati said, Through-Wall Radar is being successfully used. A search and rescue dog is also being employed to assist. Such radars are used for the detection and location of static and moving targets, especially human beings behind walls.
The spokesperson said that bodies of 14 defence personnel, including a junior commissioned officer, were sent to their hometowns. Full military honours were given to the deceased personnel at Imphal before sending the bodies to their destinations.