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150 trapped by landslide in village near Pune

New Delhi, July 30(Agencies): Up to 150 people were feared trapped by a landslide triggered by heavy rains in western India on Wednesday, the inspector general of the national disaster force told Reuters, saying that the first batch of emergency workers had arrived at the scene.

Sandeep Rai Rathore said difficult terrain was affecting the mobility of the rescue teams at the site, 60km from Pune.

Casualties were feared as several people were suspected to have been trapped inside houses on a hillside, police said.

People living in about 35 houses have come under the debris of a hillock that caved in at village Malin in Ambegaon taluka of the district when they were asleep, Pune (rural) police said.

Rescue operations are on and a team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been rushed from the neighbouring Talegaon camp to the village, about 120 km from here.

According to District Collector Saurav Rao, the administration has mobilised rescue machinery to pull out those trapped.

”Exact number of causalities is not known as we are moving slowly to ensure that those trapped are removed safely. About 30 ambulances have been rushed from adjoining areas to extend medical help to the victims,” he said, adding earthmoving equipment from government and private parties were being pressed into service.

Communication difficulties and rains were affecting the operations, he said.

State's Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Patangrao Kadam said rescue operations were going on in full swing in coordination with various government agencies.

Pune Divisional Commissioner Prabhakar Deshmukh is coordinating the relief work, Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Dilip Walse Patil said.

”The Pune district collector and SP have reached the spot. The divisional commissioner is coordinating the relief work,” Walse Patil, who represents the affected region in the state Assembly, said.

”The NDRF teams have also reached the spot,” he said.

Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and deputy CM Ajit Pawar have rushed to the village.