Kinnaur: 14 dead and many trapped as landslide hits bus and cars on highway

·3-min read

Four more bodies were recovered from the landslide site in Himachal Pradesh's Kinnaur district where the search and rescue operation resumed early on Thursday, raising the death toll to 14. Kinnaur Deputy Commissioner Abid Hussain Sadiq said that 14 bodies have been recovered so far. Thirteen people were rescued with injuries on Wednesday, while several others were still feared buried under the debris. However, the exact number was not known.

The Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) bus, which, along with other vehicles, was buried under the debris after the landslide, has been found in a badly damaged condition, State Disaster Management Director Sudesh Kumar Mokhta said.

However, a Bolero car still could not be traced, he added.

The HRTC bus was on its way from Reckong Peo to Haridwar via Shimla when it was hit by boulders after the landslide around Wednesday noon near Chaura village on national highway-5 in Nigulsari area of Nichar tehsil.

Meanwhile, a two-minute silence was observed in the state assembly to pay homage to those who died in the Kinnaur landslide.

Urban Development Minister Suresh Bhardwaj said Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, along with Industries and Transport Minister Bikram Singh, has gone to the spot to take stock of the rescue work.

Bhardwaj said the landslide occurred at the place where people usually stop their vehicles to look at the scenic view and take photographs.

The rescue operation, being carried out jointly by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the ITBP and the members of local police and home guards, resumed at 6 am on Thursday. The authorities had suspended the operation on Wednesday at around 10 pm.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur over the incident. Union Home Minister Amit Shah also spoke to Thakur to take stock of the situation and directed the Indo-Tibetan Border Police to provide all assistance to the state government in rescue and relief operations.

Modi also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund to the next of kin of those who lost their lives due to the landslide. Rs 50,000 each would be given to the injured, his office added.

Earlier on July 25, nine people were killed and three others injured in multiple landslides near Batseri in the Kinnaur district.

Similarly on July 27, at least eight people died, two were injured and two went missing in flash floods triggered by a cloudburst in Lahaul-Spiti district.

Jal Shakti Minister Mahender Singh Thakur had informed the state Assembly on August 4 that 218 people died and 12 went missing in Himachal Pradesh this monsoon season.

WITH PTI INPUTS

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