Himachal Pradesh landslip National

Himachal Pradesh landslip | Death toll rises to 14; 16 missing

Bodies being brought into the Health Centre at Bhabnagar in Kinnaur districtfor identification by family members.   | Photo Credit: V V Krishnan

It has been a grim morning for Karam Singh outside the Community Health Centre at Bhawanagar in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur district. Sitting on a low wall outside the Centre, he has been trying to calm his anxious father as they wait for news of his brother who was on the ill-fated Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) bus that was hit by the landslide on National Highway 5 at Nigulsari on Wednesday.

As an ambulance ferrying bodies recovered from landslide site approaches, Mr. Singh, 32, and his father rush towards it to see and identify the body. Both of them take a thorough look, and see the clothes and other items of the victim. “It’s not him,” says Mr. Singh. Both move to the wall again, resuming their vigil for the next ambulance.

 

With four more bodies recovered on Thursday, the toll in the accident has gone up to 14. Thirteen people have been rescued while 16 are still missing.

“My elder brother Suryavanshi had boarded the bus from Nigulsari and there’s no information about him. It wouldn’t be more than three-four kilometres from here (Nigulsari) where the incident had occurred. He was a tailor and was going to Juri to start his new shop there. The locals at Nigulsari informed us that they saw him boarding the bus. We kept trying to call him but his phone is ‘out of network coverage’. Now, since morning we are anxiously waiting to hear about him and see him,” Mr. Singh told The Hindu.

Mr. Singh and his father are among the hundreds of people at the Health Centre, anxiously waiting for the ambulances that have brought in the victims of the devastating landslide.

Also read: It all happened in a split second, survivors say

The rescue, being carried out jointly by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), ITBP, police and home guards, resumed at 6 a.m. on Thursday, State Disaster Management Director Sudesh Kumar Mokhta said. The HRTC bus was on its way from Reckong Peo to Haridwar via Shimla when it was hit by the landslide.

Kyali Devi of Sungra village said her brother-in-law Rakesh had boarded the bus to go to Rampur for routine work and is still missing. “We have not told anything about the tragedy to his wife. We are only hoping he survives and returns safely,” she said, sitting on the ground along with her relatives.

An inconsolable Jai Devi said her daughter-in-law Gulbachni, 29, had left for Rampur to meet her parents and had boarded the ill-fated bus from Tapri. “My family is ruined if she doesn’t return safely,” she said, holding her head in despair.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur in a statement informed the State Assembly that since June 13, 248 people had lost their lives in various incidents related to the monsoon rains, that have lashed many parts of Himachal Pradesh. On the Nigulsari tragedy, he said a (HRTC bus, a truck and three small vehicles were completely damaged.

“14 people have so far lost their lives in the (Nigulsari) incident while 16 people are still feared missing. 13 persons have been rescued. The rescue operation will continue till all the people are traced,” he said. The government bus was located on Thursday morning.

Mr Thakur, who visited the incident site to oversee the relief and rescue work, said the State government would also conduct a geological survey of the area as a long term solution. The Chief Minister met the kin of the dead and family members of those missing, assuring all possible help from the government.

He said the State government will provide ₹4 lakh each to the next of kin of the dead and ₹50,000 to those seriously injured. ₹1 lakh will be given to the kin of the dead bus passengers by the Transport Department, he said, adding that free treatment will be provided to the injured.

(With PTI inputs)


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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 3:48:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/landslip-in-himachal-pradesh-kinnaur-district-death-toll-rises/article35868947.ece

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