According to Deputy Commissioner Kullu, seven persons have died and 11 were injured after a giant rock boulder hit Gurdwara complex at Manikaran Sahib in Kullu district.
Eyewitnesses claimed that the dead could be more than ten in number as a large number of people had taken shelter in the building, close to the Gurdwara, when the tragedy struck.
The chief minister also announced an ex-gratia of Rs one lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 25,000 for the seriously wounded.
The Chief Minister, who had a telephonic conversation with his Himachal Pradesh counterpart Virbhadra Singh today evening, assured him of full and immediate help from the state government in rescue operations.
He also urged Virbhadra Singh to extend all possible help to the pilgrims stranded in and around Gurdwara complex at Manikaran Sahib.
The district administration has sought the assistance of Gurdwara authorities in locating and identifying the bodies as most people staying in the building were outsiders.
People ran helter-skelter as boulders fell on the building and many were trapped as a huge portion of the three- storey building virtually collapsed.
The locals and Gurdwara management immediately swung into action and started rescue operations while Additional District Magistrate, Sub Divisional Magistrate, Kullu and other district officials rushed to the spot.
Those injured have been admitted to zonal hospital at Kullu and condition of seven of them is stated to be serious.
A 24X7 control room has been set up at Punjab Civil Secretariat Chandigarh to review the situation. People could contact the control room with telephone numbers 0172-2740859 and 0172-2740397, an official spokesman said.
As per the list provided by district administration Kullu seven persons who died belonged to Rogla Tarwa Mandi village of Sangrur district.
(With inputs from agencies)