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Imphal: The around three-week long search operation, launched after the catastrophic landslide at a railway construction site in Manipur’s Noney district on June 29-30, which left dead more than 56 people, mostly Territorial Army soldiers, is likely to be called off on Wednesday, a minister said on Tuesday.

Manipur Relief and Disaster Management Minister Awangbow Newmai, after reviewing the ongoing search operation by multiple agencies at a meeting held at Noney Deputy Commissioner’s office, said : “We have decided to call off the search operation officially by tomorrow (Wednesday) evening. However, the final decision would be taken after consultation with the Chief Minister (N Biren Singh) on Wednesday.”

Till Monday, 56 bodies, mostly of Territorial Army soldiers, were recovered from the disaster site at Tupul while five people are still missing as the joint search and rescue operation by the Army, National and State Disaster Response Force and local volunteers continued.

Earlier, 18 persons were rescued alive and hospitalised.

The Minister said that the government has put in concerted efforts in the rescue and search operation for the missing people, and extended his gratitude to the rescue teams, civil and voluntary organisations, and the local villagers for their relentless and tireless efforts.

He also thanked the railway officials and the district administration for the donation given to the relief committee. “I pray and wish that such calamity does not again happen in our area,” he also added.

The village authority of Makhuam had also placed a charter of demands to the state and railway authorities for compensation and other charitable provisions. The demand includes financial compensation, suitable employment to the affected family members and creating a suitable dumping site to maintain ecological balance amongst others.

Local MLA Dipu Gangmei, Additional Chief Secretary M.H.Khan, Deputy Commissioner H.Guite, Superintendent of Police M Gopaldas, senior Army and Assam Assam Rifles officials, engineers from the railways, officials of the National and State Disaster Response Force, the CRPF, among others were also present in the review meeting.

 

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Author: Howard Caldwell