Rescue operation at Pettimudy (Photo: Shaheer CH)
Pettimudy: Death toll in the landslide that flattened rows of houses of tea estate workers here near Rajamala in Idukki is rising. Nine more bodies were recovered on Saturday taking the toll to 26.
Search is progressing to find the others trapped under the soil. The bodies were taken to a hospital near Pettimudy for post mortem. They were laid to rest in the land owned by Kanan Devan Company in Rajamala.
The rescue effort by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) resumed at 8 am Saturday. Decrease in rain compared to the previous day helped the rescue workers.
The NDRF removed soil after locating the 4 rows of houses with the help of local residents. Five bodies were retrieved by noon. As the rain intensified in the afternoon, the search operation was later called off for the day.
Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekharan, Minister for Electricity M. M. Mani and Dean Kuriakose MP are spearheading the rescue operation.
Meanwhile, The Forest department has decided to provide financial aid to the families of 6 department workers who went missing in the landslide. The kin of each worker will be given Rs 50,000 from the relief fund of the Forest department, said Munnar Wildlife Warden Lakshmi.
Forest watchers Manikandan, Achutan, Raja and Rekha, drivers Ganesan and Mayilswami went missing in the landslide. All six are temporary employees. The body of Rekha has been recovered.