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Landslide toll 14, over 20 missing, hope fades

Bhanu P Lohumi

Tribune News Service

Neugalsari (Kinnaur), Aug 12

With the hope of survival of persons trapped in the HRTC bus buried in a massive landslide near Neugalsari diminishing, distraught relatives seem to have reconciled with the reality. They are now waiting for the bodies to be traced so that the last rites of their dear ones can be performed.

Edit: Tragedy in the hills

The death toll in the landslide went up to 14 with the recovery of four more bodies today. Thirteen persons have been rescued so far, while over 20 are still missing. Relatives allege the focus of rescue agencies was on reopening the national highway and not tracing the bus. A JCB machine reached the accident spot from the Chaura side around 6 pm, they say. A case should be registered against the officials concerned for the delay, a victim’s relative said. Geet Ram said his son Mehar Chand, who was returning from his in-laws’ house, was still trapped in the bus. “Our hearts are sinking with each passing minute as hopes of survival are diminishing,” he said.

Ravi Kumar said his brother Prab Lal could not be traced so far. The family was waiting with a bated breath for a news about him, he said.

Congress MLA from Kinnaur Jagat Singh Negi said action should be taken against officials found responsible for the delay.

Kinnaur DC Abid Hussain Sadiq said the entire area was surveyed using drones and rescue operations were conducted in a planned manner.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, who visited the spot, said shooting stones hampered the rescue work.

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