126 still trapped under debris in the remote tribal area

At least 20 persons were crushed to death and 126 others trapped under debris after a landslide triggered by the relentless rain hit the remote tribal village of Malin in Ambegaon taluka of Pune district early on Wednesday morning.

District Collector Saurabh Rao said six people had been extricated from the rubble and another 14 were reported injured. Rescue operations will continue through the night.The village with a population of 700 is at the base of a hill, 112 kilometres from Pune city and near the ancient Bhimashankar temple. People were asleep in their homes when the landslide occurred, officials said. The rain over the past few days had loosened the soil and dislodged boulders and rocks on the hill. As many as 44 houses were under debris, officials said. “Rescue operations have been hampered by the narrow road and poor communication lines. The rain and the mud have made our job more difficult,” said Additional Collector Ganesh Patil. The connectivity to the village is so poor that even the administration's wireless services could not establish contact. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter that the loss of lives was saddening.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is expected to visit Pune on directions from the Prime Minister to take stock of the situation.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar were on the spot. “I have been visiting this region for the past 25 years. I have never witnessed anything like this. Rescue operations will take another three or four days,” said Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Dilip Walse Patil, who is from Ambegaon. Seven teams of the National Disaster Response Force with 300 personnel have been deployed.