ITANAGAR, April 22 - At least 16 persons died apparently in their sleep when a massive landslide, triggered by heavy rains, swept through a labour camp at a construction site in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh early this morning.
The deceased persons were reported to be mainly labourers from neighbouring Assam who had gone there in search of greener pastures.
The mishap occurred around 3.30 am at Famla village, located about 5 kms from the Tawang district headquarters. The SP-type building, where the labourers were putting up, was hit by the landslide caused by torrential rains, according to official sources here.
All the dead bodies were retrieved in a joint operation carried out by the district administration along with Police, Army, GREF personnel and villagers. The district administration has pressed into service men and machinery for the rescue operation, which began early in the morning and continued till 1 pm in spite of heavy rain crippling the operation. Immediate relief was handed over to the manager of the labour camp, the sources said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has, meanwhile, expressed grief over the loss of the lives. The Prime Minister extended his condolences to the bereaved families in a message.
Chief Minister Kalikho Pul and former Chief Minister Nabam Tuki also conveyed their heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and offered their prayers for eternal peace of the departed souls.
�As in the previous years, Monsoon has once again unleashed its wrath in our State� I believe the State government and its agencies are alive to the situation arising out of the continuous downpour and have put remedial and preventive mechanism at place.
�It is my sincere appeal to the citizens to remain alert and avoid rampant cutting of trees and land cutting for selfish motives. People living in landslide-prone areas and river banks should maintain extra vigil and if possible shift to safer areas,� Tuki said in a statement here.
Incessant rainfall for the past several days has triggered landslides in various parts of the district as well. A Bailey bridge over Bomdir Nallah is also said to be on the verge of collapse as informed by an official.