Rajnath Singh reaches Pune, to tour landslide site on Thursday

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Rajnath Singh reaches Pune
Pune, July 30:  Home Minister Rajnath Singh reached Pune on Wednesday night to take an overview of the rescue operations at Malin village which was buried in a landslide, killing at least 25 people and trapping more than 160 early morning, officials said.

Accompanied by Vinod Tawde, Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra legislative council, and other officials, Rajnath Singh will travel to the disaster site Thursday morning.

Depending on the prevailing weather conditions, Rajnath Singh may make an aerial survey of the disaster site at Malin.

At least 160 villagers remain trapped under the massive section of a hillock which crashed down on the village with 50 homes, around 120 km from here, wiping Malin off the state map.

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

At least 160 villagers remain trapped under the debris

A 300-strong team, comprising the National Disaster Response Force, Maharashtra Disaster Response Force, police, villagers and political activists, braved inclement weather and frantically searched for trapped people under stones, boulders and sticky mud.

In New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed anguish over the tragedy.

Heavy rain, which has lashed the picturesque region over the past four days, continued to hamper relief operations the whole day and prevented rescuers from approaching the accident site as, due to the flowing water, the mud kept shifting.

The villagers sleeping in their homes were caught unawares and many continue to be trapped under the mud, boulders and debris, said Walse-Patil.

An army team was also sent from Pune.

District officials said people in around half a dozen other villages in the hilly neighbourhood are being evacuated as a precautionary measure.

IANS

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