Pune, July 31 IANS | 3 months ago

The toll in a landslide that wiped out a village near Pune in Maharashtra touched 28 Thursday. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited the site in the morning.

Rajnath Singh, who reached Pune late Wednesday from New Delhi, spoke to officials and inspected the ongoing rescue operations at the Malin village which was entirely swept under the landslide Wednesday.

Nearly 130 people are still buried under the mudslide and debris.

Accompanied by Vinod Tawde, Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra legislative council, and other officials, Rajnath Singh travelled by road to the disaster site where rescue teams braved inclement weather to continue operations overnight.

He is likely to visit some of the injured who are undergoing treatment. The central government has announced an aid of Rs.200,000 each for the families of those killed in the disaster.

By Thursday morning, the rescuers succeeded in saving the lives of 22 people, including eight who were injured, while those missing are being searched using sophisticated gadgets.

The tragedy occurred when a massive section of a hillock crashed down on the village, around 120 km from here, that has some 50 homes.

Earlier Wednesday evening, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Speaker Dilip Walse-Patil and ministers Harshavardhan Patil and Madhukarrao Pichad visited the site.

A 400-strong team, comprising personnel from the Indian Army, National Disaster Response Force, Maharashtra Disaster Response Force, police, villagers and political activists, braved inclement weather and searched for trapped people under stones, boulders and sticky mud.

In New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday expressed anguish over the tragedy, while the Lok Sabha condoled the death of the victims in the tragedy.

Heavy rain, which has lashed the picturesque region for over four days, continues to hamper relief operations and has prevented rescuers from approaching the accident site.

District officials have evacuated residents in around half a dozen other villages in the hilly neighbourhood as incessant rain has continued in the region.

(Posted on 31-07-2014)

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