A village near the Mandi-Pathankot National Highway was on Monday declared unsafe and residents asked to shift to safer places in view of threat of landslides even as rescue operations were on at the site where two buses were trapped under mounds of debris.
A massive landslide buried two Himachal Pradesh roadways buses on Sunday, killing at least 46 people and injuring several others on the Mandi–Pathankot National Highway. The Himachal Road Transport Corporation has suspended night services on 65 landslide-prone roads in Shimla district as a precaution. “The death toll is 46 and rescue operations are in full swing,” said Special Secretary, Disaster and Revenue, D D Sharma. The wreckage of buses were buried deep in the debris and hampering movement of heavy machinery, deployed to remove boulders.
A village in the area has been declared unsafe and residents have been asked to shift to safe places, said Deputy Commissioner, Mandi, Sandeep Kadam. The cause of the massive landslide is yet to be ascertained and a team of geologists is arriving tomorrow, he said. Forensic experts have been called to identify the bodies which are badly mutilated. Four more bodies have been identified today while 19 bodies remained to be identified.
In view of frequent landslides and Sunday’s incident, traffic has been diverted via IIT Kamand. The Mandi district administration has closed the Mandi–Aut section of Chandigarh- Manali road and advised commuters to take the Mandi–Kullu Road via Kotla.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Sunday had visited the spot and said eight passengers were travelling in the Manali-Katra bus, of whom three lost their lives, while five were rescued and taken to the zonal hospital in Mandi. There were around 47 passengers in the second bus which was on its way from Manali to Chamba, an official said. Meanwhile, Volvo bus authorities have said that their bus was not involved in the accident.