With two more deaths due to Kinnaur landslide, death toll mounts

Vehicle traffic on National Highway-5 has been restored, according to a bulletin issued by the administration

NEW DELHI — As search and rescue activities began in the early morning today, the dead toll in the Kinnaur landslide climbed to 15 after two additional bodies were found from the event site.

However, owing to shooting stones, rescue activities have been suspended. On Thursday, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur announced a Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia to the deceased’s relatives.

13 people have also been rescued and sent to the hospital for medical care. However, the exact number of persons who have gone missing has yet to be determined.

As per latest news reports, vehicular traffic on National Highway-5 had been re-established.

The landslide tragedy

When the landslide hit the Reckong Peo-Shimla Highway in Kinnaur district on August 11, a 30-seater Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) bus, a truck, and four automobiles were among the vehicles that went under the rubble.

Sarju Ram Rana, police superintendent (Kinnaur), as per Hindustan Times, said the government has dispatched two excavators to access the bus wreckage.

Rana said the manual search will continue, and two forklift machines have been dispatched to clear the rubble in the hopes of finding individuals believed to be trapped beneath.

As per the report, Sudesh Mokta, director of the State Disaster Management Authority, said they have been unable to locate a car that went missing after the landslide and do not know how many passengers were in it.

However, the HT put the death at 16 while various other news outlets including ANI reported 15 as the death toll.

Pertinently, two more automobiles had already been rescued from the rubble by rescuers.

On Wednesday, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, who visited the landslide site, declared that the search effort will continue till the final body was found.

State Assembly expresses sorrow

Meanwhile, the Himachal Pradesh Assembly, which is now in session, has expressed sorrow for the incident’s fatalities.

Suresh Bhardwaj, the minister of urban development and parliamentary affairs, briefed the House on the event.

Asha Kumari, a Dalhousie lawmaker, voiced worry about the state’s recurrent natural catastrophes and emphasised the importance of taking efforts to prevent such tragedies.

Rakesh Singha, a CPIM lawmaker, slammed the administration for delaying the rescue operation, citing media reports. He said that heavy gear was dispatched from Narkanda to approach the location.

Speaker of the Vidhan Sabha, Vipin Parmar, expressed his condolences for the event.

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