With four more bodies recovered on Monday, the death toll in the Thursday landslide at a railway construction site in Manipur’s Noney district increased to 46, including 30 Territorial Army soldiers, while search operations were underway in inclement weather to locate the 17 still missing, officials said.
The latest four bodies included three Territorial Army personnel and another person who was unidentified as the body was mutilated. The 46 dead also include railway workers.
Despite fresh landslides on Sunday and continuous hostile weather conditions, the intensive search operations by the Indian Army, the Assam Rifles, the Territorial Army, and the National and State Disaster Response Forces continued at the incident site at Tupul, district officials said.
Senior Army and disaster management officials are camping in ground zero supervising the rescue and recovery operations in the landslide-devastated mountainous Tupul, where around 80 persons, including Territorial Army personnel, were buried alive after catastrophic mudslide that occurred on June 30.
The “Through Wall Radar” and search and rescue dogs were inducted to hasten the search operation, officials said. Relentless efforts to search for the remaining missing Territorial Army personnel and civilians would continue till the last individual is found, a defence spokesman said.
The district administration again on Monday cautioned civilians living in downstream areas of the Ijei river to evacuate due to the likelihood of breach in the dam created on the river by the landslide.
The Territorial Army soldiers were deployed at Tupul to provide security to the railway project in which many workers from Assam have been working.
The constructions of the railway infrastructure in Noney district are part of the Rs 14,320 crore broad gauge Jiribam-Imphal railway project, being executed by the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), to connect the Manipur capital on the rail network by 2024.
After completion of the vital project, Imphal would be the fourth capital city in the northeastern region to come under the railway map after Assam’s main city of Guwahati (adjoining capital Dispur), Agartala, and Naharlagun (adjacent to Arunachal’s capital city Itanagar).