| A family from Champhai who escaped the accident. Telegraph picture |
Aizawl, July 22: Work at Keifang quarry ground to a halt today following a government order in the wake of yesterday’s landslide, which left 18 dead and many injured.
The landslide from the roadside quarry hit a night bus at Keifang village in Champhai district of western Mizoram on the Indo-Myanmar border, about 100km from this capital town, last night.
The bus was travelling from Champhai town to Aizawl. It had almost reached the end of this quarry around 1am when the boulders came crashing down, hitting the rear of the bus and pushing it over the deep gorge, survivors said.
Aizawl district additional deputy commissioner J. Hmingthanmawia said the Border Roads Task Force (BRTF) had been asked to stop the quarrying in the area even as the force along with volunteers were working to clear the road, which was blocked since yesterday.
Following the landslide, all vehicles plying on the road linking Champhai town to Aizawl are stranded.
Hmingthanmawia said work was going on round the clock and hoped it would be cleared by tonight. “The men cannot be asked to hurry with the job,” he said.
Although there were no reports of further deaths among the injured in yesterday’s bus mishap, a man who had come to recover the body of a dead relative fell from the vehicle he was travelling and hurt his head.
He was brought to civil hospital but died of his injures last night.
The Indian Bureau of Mines deputy controller, Hriata Chhangte, blamed the state government of disregarding the mining laws.
“Safety rules are particularly more important in a mountainous region like Mizoram where landslides are so common,” he added.
Chhangte urged the government to implement the Mines and Minerals Act and all the safety measures to encourage safe and scientific quarrying.