Northeast

Manipur | Makhuam Landslide: Railways to revisit environment and social impact assessment report

The search operation to trace the remaining missing bodies at the landslide-affected site at Makhuam (Marangching) village in Noney district has been called off on Wednesday.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 21 Jul 2022, 3:45 pm

(Photo: IFP)
(Photo: IFP)

After three weeks of continuous efforts by rescue workers to trace the missing persons in the aftermath of the massive Makhuam (Marangching) landslide, the Manipur government has finally decided to wind up the search operation on Wednesday evening.

Till day-21 of the search operation, five bodies remained untraceable. Only 18 of the 79 people affected by the landslide that occurred in the intervening night of June 29 and 30 were rescued alive.

Earlier in the afternoon, Chief Minister N Biren Singh chaired a high-profile meeting to address the issues arising out of the landslide and grievances aired by Makhuam Village Authority at CM Secretariat.

ALSO READ: Manipur | Makhuam Landslide: Government mulls calling off search operation

Subsequently, a memorandum of understanding was signed between NF Railways, Noney district Administration and Makhuam Village Authority in the presence of Chief Minister N Biren, Disaster Management Minister Awangbow Newmai and Hill Areas Committee Chairman Dipu Gangmei among other officials.

CM Biren told the media after the meeting that the government decided to call off the operation in view of the hardships faced by all, especially the villagers who are unable to even perform the rituals of their lost ones.

However, individual efforts to retrieve the missing properties, machinery among others could still be carried on by any organisation or agency, he said. As for the missing ones, the government will officially declare them dead with the winding of the operation, he said.

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He maintained that he had detailed talks with Railways minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Tuesday and apprised the grievances of the villagers. Chief engineer of NF Railways Sandeep Sharma was deputed for signing of the MoU to address the grievances, he added.

He thanked all the personnel of various organisations, villagers and CVOs of the Marangching area involved in the search and rescue operation for their tireless efforts to trace the missing bodies.

The chief minister had earlier announced an ex-gratia of Rs five lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured persons.

ALSO READ: Expert committee to identify landslide prone areas: CM Biren

Concerning the missing bodies, including that of one Territorial Army, three villagers and one VSC, the ex-gratia may be paid after observing necessary formalities which would take around 30 days, he added.

Spelling out the agreed points in the memorandum of understanding, Biren said that the railways will bear education fees of the three children orphaned by the landslide. The amount shall be deposited in their respective / next of kin's bank accounts so that their education may continue till graduation uninterrupted. For the time being, the children will also be put up in the Rengpang Residential School first.

It was also agreed upon that the next of kin of the deceased will be provided permanent employment by the railways/state for posts that reflect respective educational qualifications. It was decided that until such permanent employment can be provided (which shall not be longer than one year from the date of landslide), the railways shall ensure one of its construction agencies near the site, and provide contractual employment.

ALSO READ: Did Northern Frontier Railway conceal landslide alert?

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It was also decided that the Railways with Noney/Kangpokpi District Administration and the village authority will jointly survey and assess the extent of the damage done and submit the same to railways for compensation.

The other points of MoU included the Railways to hold extensive discussion with IIT Guwahati, Manipur University and other institutions to have a detailed investigation for working out how the hill slopes adjacent to Railways boundaries in the Jiribam-Imphal project can better be monitored, so that early warning can be given for any future untoward event. Environment Impact assessment (EIA) and Social Impact Assessment (SIA) shall be revisited in the light of this landslide.

According to the MoU, the Railways shall also provide for the funeral expenses that may be incurred in the customary rites of burial and cleansing by the Makhuam village authority.      

Besides, a joint site identification team consisting of the Noney district administration, railways and Makhuam village authority shall be constituted to identify the dumping site of the landslide debris. Nomenclature of the railway station on-site shall be changed as requested by the villagers, from Tupul to Makhuam Sub-Station, and Haochong Railway Sub-Station to Makhuam Railway Line in cooperation with the state government.

ALSO READ: Manipur Landslide | Eyewitness recalls hearing loud thumping sound of mud pile falling down

Moreover, it was also decided that site identification for the memorial site shall be done jointly by railways, Noney district administration and Makhuam VA. Site construction shall however be initiated only after stabilisation of the landslide region and removal of debris.

It may be mentioned that more than 700 personnel from various organisations and over 43 machines were engaged in the rescue and search operation.

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First published:20 Jul 2022, 1:54 pm

Tags:

NoneyAwangbow Newmaisearch operationManipur landslidemakhuam landslideMarangching landslideNF Railways

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur

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