Himachal Pradesh has been facing nature’s fury as the death toll in the rain-battered state rose to 71 on Wednesday. Several incidents of landslide-triggered house collapses have been reported in the century-old city of Shimla that left many dead and others homeless.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, in an exclusive interview with The Indian Express, blamed architects from Bihar for the house collapse incidents but later clarified his statement.
“The migrant architects (masons), whom I call ‘Bihari architects’, come here and construct floor on floor. We do not have local masons,” the chief minister said.
However, he later clarified that he did not say anything like that. Speaking to news agency ANI, the CM said, “I did not say anything as such. The people of Bihar were also stuck here. I got them evacuated by helicopters. Around 200 people from Bihar are still stuck here. They are like our brothers. It is the fault of our structural engineering, they are just labourers.”
HIMACHAL RAIN FURY
The death toll in rain-battered Himachal Pradesh rose to 71 on Wednesday with more bodies being recovered. “At least 71 people have died in the past three days and 13 are still missing. A total of 57 bodies have been recovered since Sunday night,” Principal Secretary (Revenue) Onkar Chand Sharma said, reported news agency PTI.
Heavy rains have lashed the hill state since Sunday, triggering landslides in several districts, including Shimla, where three areas- Summer Hill, Fagli and Krishna Nagar are badly hit by landslips.
According to the state emergency operation centre, in total, 214 people have died in rain-related incidents in the state since the onset of monsoon on June 24, while 38 are still missing.
“Rescue operations are going on in Summer Hill and Krishna Nagar areas. A body was recovered from Summer Hill site,” Shimla Deputy Commissioner Aditya Negi told PTI.
He said so far 13 bodies have been recovered from Summer Hill, five from Fagli and two from Krishna Nagar. Some bodies are still feared buried in the debris of the Shiva temple at Summer Hill that collapsed on Monday.
About 15 houses in Krishna Nagar have been vacated and the families shifted to safer places, fearing landslides due to incessant rains.