61 Manipur landslide victims declared dead, rescue operation closed

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Imphal: Manipur chief minister N.Biren Singh has declared that the official number of deceased persons in the Makhuam (Maranching) landslide as 61, during a media interaction at the chief minister’s secretariat, here on Wednesday.

The landslide occurred at Maraching in Noney district of Manipur in the midnight of June 29.

Biren said a total of 79 persons were affected out of which 18 injured persons were rescued alive and evacuated to hospitals. Out of 61 missing bodies, 56 bodies had been recovered in the search and rescue operation conducted for more than 20 days till Wednesday and five are still missing, he added.

After thorough discussion with all the stakeholders, the government has decided to officially close the rescue operation on this day. However, individual efforts to retrieve the missing properties, machineries, etc could still be carried on by any organisation or agency, he said.

“The official number of deceased persons in the landslide is regarded as 61,” Biren  said. He assured that the state government would take up all necessary steps for the deceased and the injured persons.

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A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed amonh North Frontier Railways, Noney District Administration and Makhuam Village Authority at the chief minister’s secretariat in presence of the chief minister, relief and disaster management minister Awangbow Newmai and Hill Area Committee chairman Diganglung Gangmei.

The MoU was regarding the charter of demands put forth by the Makhuam Village authority in the matter of addressing issues arising out of the recent massive landslide that occurred at Maranching, Noney District. The MoU was signed by chief engineer, North Frontier Railway (NFR) Sandeep Sharma on Railways behalf, deputy commissioner, Noney District, Haulianlal Guite for District Administration, Noney and chairman, Makhuam Village Authority, Lanranglung Gondaimei on behalf of village authority.

The MoU included that until a permanent employment could be provided to the next of kin, the Railways would ensure providing contractual employment in one of its construction agencies near the site, the Railways with Noney/Kangpokpi District Administration and the village authority shall jointly survey and assess the extent of the damage done and submit the same to railways for compensation.

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The other points of MoU included the Railways to hold extensive discussion with IIT Guwahati, Manipur University and other likeminded institutions to have a detailed investigation for working out how the hill slopes adjacent to Railways boundaries in the Jiribam-Imphal project can better be monitored, so that early warning can be given for any future untoward event. Environment Impact assessment (EIA) and Social Impact Assessment (SIA) shall be revisited in the light of this landslide.

According to the MoU, the Railways shall also provide for the funeral expenses that may be incurred in the customary rites of burial and cleansing by the Makhuam village authority. The three children orphaned by the landslide shall be provided educational fees which shall be deposited in their respective next of kin’s bank accounts so that their education may continue till graduation uninterrupted and the children shall also be put up in the Rengpang Residential School first.

Biren thanked all the personnel of various organisations, villagers and CSOs of the Maranching area involved in the search and rescue operation for their tireless efforts to trace the missing bodies.

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Prior to signing of the MoU, Biren held a meeting with all stakeholders including Awangbow, Diganglung, additional chief secretary M.H. Khan, chief engineer, NFR, Brigade Commander, Leimakhong, DC and SP Noney, president (RNYO), NDRF commander and representatives of Makhuam Village Authority to discuss on each issue flagged by Makhuam Village Authority.

More than 700 personnel from various organisations were engaged in the search and rescue operation with more than 43 machines.

Biren had earlier announced ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured persons. In addition, Rs 30 lakh were also sanctioned for management of the search and rescue operations. For those cases, where the bodies are still not found consisting of one Territorial Army, three villagers and one VSC, the ex-gratia may be paid after observing necessary enquiry and formalities which would take a period of 30 -35 days.

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