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Sanjeev Kumar Pradhan

Gajapati: The death toll in tragic Gajapati landslide reached 15 after two more bodies were recovered by rescue teams today. Earlier, 13 bodies were recovered from the mishap site near Barghar village under Gangabada panchayat of Raygad block in the district yesterday.

Official sources said, the last rites of the deceased persons will be conducted after post mortem and other formalities.

The landslide occurred at Barghar in the hilly Raygada block where some villagers had taken shelter in a cave following very heavy rain trigged by Cyclone Titli on Thursday evening.

The toll could increase further as three others are feared trapped under the debris. Some houses and other structures were also damaged in the landslide.

The deceased have been identified as Dandapani Bhuyan, Sumitra Bhuyan, Somanath Kathren, Jagan Kathi, Minakshi Shabar, Gangadhara Behera, Dinesh Bhuyan, Lalu Behera, Jayachandra Bhutan, Suramati Jani and Champa Bhutan.

On the other hand steps are being taken by the government and district administration to bring back normalcy in the district after cyclone Titli and the flood situation arise due to heavy rains under its impact.

Reportedly, a review meeting is scheduled to be held today at the circuit house in Paralakhemundi under the chairmanship of Labour minister Sushant Singh.

District administration officials on the other hand claimed that steps are being taken to carry out relief and rescue operations in the region.

"This is the worst devastation faced by people in Gajapati district. As per the instructions of the CM, steps are being taken by the district administration to bring restore normalcy in the district," said Gopalpur MLA Pradeep Panigrahi.

Official sources said already work for restoration of emergency services including electricity supply is being taken up on a war footing as nearly 1 lakh 20 thousand people have been cut-off from the rest of the world following the cyclone and flash floods.

“The chairman of the block and executive engineer of RWSS had requested the people of the affected village to shift to safer place a day prior to the cyclone. 68 families were shifted to safer places whereas the rest seven families refused to move.  As per the preliminary report, those seven families were affected in the unfortunate incident,” said Special Relief Commissioner Bishnupada Sethi,

Sethi further informed that an ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh will be provided to the next of kin of the deceased.

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