Death toll in Manipur quake reaches eight, normal life affected

Imphal, Jan 5 (IANS) Normal life continued to be affected in Manipur on Tuesday as the death toll in the 6.7 magnitude earthquake rose to eight in the state.

“Three people each died in Imphal East and Imphal west districts while two deaths were reported in Senapati district. The government will pay Rs.5 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed,” Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam Gangmei said.

Even as all educational institutes in the northeastern state were closed for a week, offices too declared a holiday for two days. Most shops and business establishments were also closed.

A shortage of essential commodities and other consumables were reported since the main marketing complex in the state capital was shut.

Vehicles and pedestrians were barred from crossing the damaged Minuthong bridge over the Imphal river that connects the eastern and western parts of state capital Imphal.

Rapid response teams of the health department fanned out in the interior rural and mountainous areas of Manipur to provide medical relief to the affected.

Though 35 members of the National Disaster Response Force teams are working in Tamenglong district, no report of recovery of any dead body was received so far. Over 100 houses and shops were damaged in the hill district.

Reports of damage to several school buildings in other districts of Manipur were received though there was no report of any casualty.

Monday’s temblor at 4.35 a.m. on Monday had its epicentre in Tamenglong district. It also jolted Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram and Tripura, besides Myanmar and Bhutan.

Meanwhile, angered over the damage caused to the women’s market in Imphal, hundreds of women vendors on Monday allegedly beat up Subhas Chandra, superintending engineer of the Manipur Public Works Department (Building Circle).

Chandra was deputed to supervise the construction of a modern marketing complex by Simplex Infrastructure Company in place of traditional sheds for women vendors.

The pillars, walls and other parts of the structure collapsed due to the earthquake on Monday, following which Chandra arrived at the spot to assess the damage.

The women vendors said they had lodged complaints about cracks and leaks in the complex even before they shifted there but the state government turned a deaf ear.

Meanwhile, some organisations, including the All Manipur United Clubs Organisation, the International Peace and Social Advancement demanded a probe into the “sub-standard” construction of the marketing complex.

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