Kerala landslide toll at 48; 22 still missing
He said some bodies were recovered from a river and rescue work is still going on despite inclement weather. Rejecting criticism from Opposition parties, who questioned his delay in visiting the affected district, Vijayan said he will visit the spot at an appropriate time.Updated: Aug 11, 2020 00:03 IST
The toll in Rajamalai landslide in Idukki district went up to 48 on Monday with the recovery of six more bodies while 22 are still missing, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.
He said some bodies were recovered from a river and rescue work is still going on despite inclement weather. Rejecting criticism from Opposition parties, who questioned his delay in visiting the affected district, Vijayan said he will visit the spot at an appropriate time.
“There is no discrimination between plane crash victims and those affected by landslide. What the government announced in the latter case is only an interim relief and it will be raised further. Some parties are whipping it up unnecessarily to create confusion among people,” he said.
Opposition Congress and BJP had questioned discrepancy in relief in twin tragedies that struck Kerala on Friday. While the CM had announced Rs 10 lakh relief for families of the dead in the plane crash, landslide victims were given only Rs 2 lakh. But Vijayan said the government will ensure rehabilitation of affected plantation workers. He also said rescue work will continue till the recovery of the last body.
But an official of the Kannan Devan Hills Plantation Limited, which owns the estate, said it will be difficult to ascertain exact number of people trapped in the landslide as some houses had guests and children, studying outside Idukki, who came home due to the lockdown.
The official cited that few who died were not on company’s records, indicating that the toll may go up. Most of the victims hail from south Tamil Nadu districts but are settled in plantation areas for work for more than two generations.
Six temporary workers engaged by the Eravikulam National Park are also among the victims. The forest department said the epicentre of the landslide can be Shola forest which can be ascertained only after weather clears up. Besides people, they fear there could be a loss of wildlife as well.