Tragic Noney landslide Body count continues with 12 more found, toll mounts to 20

By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Jul 1: The death toll from the tragic landslide which struck an under construction railway sub-station at Marangching, Noney district on June 29 has reached 20.  
Mortal remains of eight more Territorial Army personnel and  four more civilians were recovered today.
Notably, bodies of seven TA personnel and one construction worker belonging to VSC Infra Pvt Ltd were recovered yesterday.
Meanwhile a press release issued by PIB (DW) informed that relentless search operations by Indian Army, Assam Rifles, Territorial Army, SDRF and NDRF continued throughout the day today too.
Through Wall Radar is being used to detect any human presence inside the mud pile.
So far 13 TA personnel and five civilians  have been safely rescued, while mortal remains of 15 Territorial Army personnel and five civilians have been recovered so far.
Mortal remains of TA personnel are being despatched to respective home stations with full military honours, according to the PIB (DW) press release.
It said that search for 15 missing TA personnel and 29 civilians will continue unabated.
A large number of people including personnel of 107 TA, engineers and staff of Northern Frontier Railway (NFR), labourers of two construction companies working NFR and local villagers were swept away and buried by the massive landslide.  
Apart from burying all the construction equipment and materials of the railway sub-station, the huge debris brought down by the landslide blocked the current Ijei River. Some of the construction materials were brought down to the river bed.
The river current which was blocked by the huge debris was later opened. Today too, five/six excavators were pressed into service to remove the earth which was blocking the river current. Subsequently, the water level in the upstream receded.
The bodies recovered today were found buried under mud and debris in the bed of Ijei River, sources informed.
Out of 15 bodies brought to JNIMS mortuary, post mortem of 14 of them had been completed by this evening.
The eight bodies recovered yesterday have been identified and autopsy was done today.
The civilian has been identified as one Gopal Phukon (37) s/o late Budhi Phukon of Kuttoli village, Morigaon district, Assam.
The others are TA personnel. They have been identified as Havildar Milan Tamang, Naik Tshering Lepcha, Naik Diwankar Thapa, Rifleman Sankar Chhetri, Rifleman Benjamin Rai, Rifleman Md Jairul Hoque and Rifleman Marcus Gurung.
Autopsy of the bodies of two other TA personnel recovered this morning has also been done.
They have been identified as Sitaram Rai (42) from Rungbul Gorkha Basti, Darjeeling district, West Bengal and Bishal Chhetri (34) from Murmah Dara Dhura, Darjeeling district, West Bengal.
Bodies of five other TA personnel which were recovered later reached JNIMS mortuary late this afternoon.
The bodies included those of Rifleman Tek Bahadur Thapa (23) of Leplen village, Kangpokpi and Rifleman Balram Sharma (37) of Dima Hasao district, Assam.  
The other three deceased have been identified as Rifleman Ladup Tamang (29), Lance Naik Bhupen Rai (35) and Havildar Bedhyan Rai (35).
Teams of TA and Imphal East District Police have been stationed at JNIMS mortuary since this morning.
On the other hand, volunteers of Indian Red Cross Society, Manipur State Branch and staff of Medilane (ambulance service) are currently stationed at the site of the landslide.
Medilane helped in bringing dead bodies of TA personnel to JNIMS mortuary, the sources added.  
The landslide struck the camp of the TA personnel in the midnight of June 29, sweeping everything on its way.
The TA personnel were camped there to provide protection to the ongoing rail line construction work, the first of its kind in Manipur.
Till the time of filing this report, operation was still on to retrieve bodies/rescue anyone who are trapped in the debris.