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7 from State killed in Nepal


NEW DELHI/GUWAHATI, April 27 � Seven persons from Assam have been confirmed dead in Saturday�s devastating earthquake in Nepal.

Speaking to reporters in Guwahati this afternoon, Home Commissioner LS Changsan said the Ministry of External Affairs had informed the Resident Commissioner of Assam in New Delhi that an Indian Air Force plane would be airlifting the bodies from Kathmandu to New Delhi later in the evening.

Besides, 10 persons from Assam are confirmed to have been injured and are being treated in various hospitals in Kathmandu.

She said the control rooms set up by the State government in Guwahati and in New Delhi have so far received inquiries regarding 120 persons from Assam who are reported to have been in Nepal during the time of the major earthquake. However, the exact number of people from the State who might be stuck in the Himalayan nation is not yet known.

Of the 120 people for whom inquiries have been received from friends and relatives, 40 have left Nepal with government assistance and reached New Delhi since yesterday, while another six reached Morigaon today. They came on their own.

Out of the group of 40 people, 30 have already reached Guwahati and the other 10 are expected back tomorrow. These people are being brought back to Guwahati by air by the State government. Two of the injured who arrived in Guwahati today, have been admitted to hospital.

Senior IPS officer Umesh Kumar has been sent by the State government to Nepal and he is expected to reach there tomorrow. He has been tasked to liaison with the Indian Embassy and local authorities to trace people from Assam, arrange for medical treatment of the injured and facilitate their return.

An Army medical team with a 20-bed hospital from Tezpur has left for Kathmandu to help in the treatment of people from Assam.

�The State government is also exploring the option of using the road network to bring back people via West Bengal,� Changsan said, adding that two senior police officers have been sent to the West Bengal-Nepal border to explore the option.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Sarbananda Sonowal met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and requested him to take steps to airlift the dead from Kathmandu. �I met the Prime Minister and requested him to evacuate those who are struck in Nepal including the injured and the patients from Assam undergoing treatment in various hospital in Kathmandu,� Sonowal told this newspaper in New Delhi.

�I have also handed over the names of our people that have come to me so that they can be evacuated,� he said.

Meanwhile, TV channels reported that the seven dead from Assam were identified as Hema Saikia, Joyshree Bora, Bhumita Das, Bhonita Deka, Reema Das, Padmabati Mazumdar and Kalpana Adhikari.

Two of the injured currently recuperating in the Assam Bhavan in New Delhi have been identified as Dalimi Baishya and Manoshi Adhikari. Manoshi�s mother Kalpana Adhikari is reported to have died in the earthquake.

Earlier in the day, Sonowal met Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and urged him to airlift all those from Assam, particularly the injured and critically wounded. He suggested that an air ambulance could be hired if required.

Sonowal told newsmen that he made a special request to airlift Abhijit Baruah, who is injured. Baruah�s treatment is going on in a Kathmandu hospital. Sonowal also requested Jaishankar to airlift the mountaineering team from Assam as well.

Meanwhile, one of the quake survivors, Lakhi Prasad Gogoi, who was airlifted from Kathmandu, narrated his horrifying experience in Nepal, to this newspaper in New Delhi.

Gogoi, with his family of four including his three-year-old daughter, who reached Kathmandu on April 21, was on a sightseeing trip to Pokhra and was standing in a queue to reach a ropeway leading to a temple, when the first quake struck.

Instantly all hell broke loose. A spring was badly damaged and water started gushing out everywhere, a temple nearby came crumbling down and people were running in panic. After some time when the second tremor shook the valley, Gogoi and his family rushed to the highway nearby and stayed put, till the driver of the taxi found them and rushed them back to Kathmandu.

�The return journey was horrifying as we saw landslide pushing vehicles off the highway. The scene in Kathmandu was equally pathetic, as the destruction was complete. People were everywhere and buildings and houses lay crushed.�

The next morning the family managed to queue up and join the Indian nationals who were being evacuated by the Indian Air Force, after their flight was cancelled.

Gogoi�s family is currently staying in the Assam Tourism Guest House here.

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