Pune: More than two days after a landslide swept away 40 homes in Malin village in Pune's Ambegaon taluka, the rescue operations are still on. The death toll has risen to 82 and more than 100 people are still feared trapped. So far, eight survivors have been pulled out.
The National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) said that the removal of slush and mud has been the biggest challenge. The force has been using canine squads to look for people under the debris.
NDRF commandmant Alok Avasthy said, "We have done 50 per cent of the job and it will take a minimum of 48 to 72 hours for the rest."
Rescue work has been hampered at Ambegaon due to another landslide that took place on Thursday.
Making a statement on the landslide in Parliament, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said that the government will appoint a team of experts to study the area. As per experts, deforestation over the years has resulted in the soil giving way, leading to the disaster.
A total of 50 ambulances, 30 dumpers and 20 JCBs have been pressed into service for rescue and relief work while nine teams of NDRF comprising about 380 personnel are at the spot, he said. In addition, 300 labourers were mobilised from municipal corporations of Junner and Alandi. Rescue teams are also armed with flood lights and necessary equipment.
Singh, who visited the village on Thursday, announced an assistance of Rs 2 lakh to the relatives of the deceased from the PM Relief Fund. Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan also announced a financial aid of Rs 5 lakh to the family of the victims from the CM Relief fund.
Free medical treatment will be given to the injured and proper rehabilitation of the village will be done on priority, the CM's office said.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi is likely to visit the area on Saturday.