In a tragic incident, at least eight persons were killed and over 55 are missing after a massive landslide in Noney district of Manipur. The incident occurred at the North East Frontier Railway line yard construction camp at Makhuam/Marangjing village side at Tupul in Noney district the midnight of June 29 and 30.
The landslide washed away the campsites used by railway construction workers and security personnel of 107 Territorial Army.
Out of the eight killed, seven were personnel of 107 Territorial Army (TA) camp deployed near Tupul Railway Station in Noney district for the protection of the under-construction railway line while the other one was a railway worker belonging to VSC Company (outsourced agency) engaged in the construction of the Imphal-Jiribam railway project.
According to PIB Defense Wing, troops of Indian Army, Assam Rifles, and Territorial Army continued the rescue operations throughout the day in the general area of Tupul railway station in spite of inclement weather. Teams of Indian Railways, civil administration, NDRF, SDRF and locals of Noney district are also actively contributing to the search.
So far 13 soldiers of the Territorial Army and five civilians have been rescued, while the mortal remains of seven soldiers and one civilian have been recovered.
Relentless search operations will continue during the night. Engineering equipment including dozers has been pressed into service for creating access to the incident site and to help in the rescue efforts. GOC in C Eastern Command, Lt Gen RP Kalita and GOC Spear Corps, Lt Gen RC Tiwari moved to the incident site and took stock of the rescue efforts.
Chief Minister N Biren also visited the incident site to take first-hand input on the rescue operations. He also announced that the state government will provide Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to the injured in the landslide in Noney.
According to a source, 43 personnel of 107 TA are deployed at Tupul railway station, out of which bodies of seven personnel could be recovered while 23 including four JCOs are feared buried under the debris. So far, 15 personnel have been rescued alive from the debris.
The injured persons were first evacuated to Noney District Hospital for immediate medical treatment. Three personnel injured in critical condition were airlifted to Imphal.
The deceased personnel of 107 TA has been identified as Milan Tamang, Tshering Lepcha, Diwankar Thapa, Sankar Chhetri, Benjamin Rai, Md Jairul Haque, and Marcus Gurung while the railway worker of VSC Company has been identified as Gopal Phukan.
The massive landslide affected at least 81 persons who were camping at the Tupul railway station, out of which 18 have been rescued alive.
Out of the four workers of BIPL engaged in the railway line construction, one was recovered alive and three were feared buried.
Out of 23 workers of VSC Company, five have been recovered alive, 18 are still missing. 2 SSEs, 1 JE of NEF Railways are feared buried.
Five villagers are also feared buried in the debris, the source said.
Local sources said that the landslide occurred at an under-construction railway platform at Marangching. Around 80 persons including security forces and railway construction workers were camping at the construction site. Some families from Marangching Part-4 and Part-5 were also running hotels and shops at the site. One male from Marangching part-4 and a couple from Marangching part-4 were among the persons feared buried.
The massive debris has blocked the flow of Ejai River, creating a dam-like reservoir that may inundate low-lying areas if the situation worsens. People living downstream along the Izei River bank are apprehensive that once the dam-like water reservoir breaks and flows down, then all the land and paddy fields and property will be completely submerged.
Noney-Imphal road has been cut off due to several landslides at multiple locations. Vehicular movement was diverted to Bishnupur-Khoupum road.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Noney Haulianlal Guite has issued an advisory asking the travelers to avoid travelling along the NH-37 road due to the multiple road blockage.
The advisory said, “Due to the unfortunate landslide which occurred at Tupul yard railway construction camp, where casualties are being reported and dozens buried alive, the flow of the river has also been obstructed by the debris, creating a dam-like storage condition which if breached will wreak havoc to the low-lying areas of Noney District Headquarters, and as the condition is still developing and the future is unknown, the general public is hereby advised to take their own precautions, and especially ensure children do not come out near the river.
Whoever can evacuate is also advised to evacuate. The public is further advised to stay alert and be prepared for any assistance in case rain conditions deteriorate further. District administration in coordination with various national and state teams are undertaking search & rescue, relief operations work as we speak”.
A large number of National Disaster Response Force and State Disaster Response Force personnel, too, have been deployed for the operation, with state police and district officials assisting them.
A special team of Manipur Fire Service has also reached the landslide-hit area for the rescue operation.
Meanwhile, several leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have shared grief with bereaved families whose dear ones have been killed in the landslide in Noney.
The Prime Minister tweeted, “Spoke to the Chief Minister of Manipur and reviewed the situation due to a tragic landslide. Assured all possible support from the Centre. I pray for the safety of all those affected”.
Indian railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw also contacted the CM N Biren and informed Railways, NDRF, SDRF and State team are working in close coordination.