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Pune landslide toll reaches 76, rescue operation faces challenge


Pune, Aug 2: The death toll in Malin village in Pune's Ambegaon taluka where a landslide swept away 40 homes on Wednesday has increased to 76 with over 100 people still feared trapped under the debris. The rescue operation was still on and eight survivors have been pulled out so far.

The National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) said the removal of the slush and mud to has been posing a tough challenge to the rescue operation. Even trained canines have been deployed to trace trapped people. Sources in the NDRF said it could take another two to three days to complete the entire operation.

The rescue operation at Ambegaon was also hit by another landslide on Thursday. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in the Parliament that the Centre would form an experts' team to study the area hit by the natural disaster. It was said that years of deforestation led to the loosening of the soil, causing the tragedy. Singh, who visited the area on Thursday, announced Rs 2 lakh assistance from the PM Relief Fund to the kin of the deceased.

Removal of the slush and mud hampered the rescue op, said the NDRF

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan also announced an aid of Rs 5 lakh to the family of the victims from the CM Relief Fund. It was also said that the state government would provide free medical treatment to the injured and rehabilitate the village

Congress president Sonia Gandhi is likely to visit the landslide site on Saturday.

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