Mumbai : Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh commended the rescue operation carried out by the NDRF and other agencies as he visited the disaster-struck Malin village on Thursday. He assured full central assistance to the state to deal with the tragedy.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also assured all possible help to the state in dealing with this enormous natural calamity,” Rajnath told mediapersons after visiting the site and meeting the survivors undergoing treatment in nearby hospitals. Accompanied by Vinod Tawde, Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council, and other officials, Rajnath went around the remnants of Malin village. He urged the need to strike a balance between environment and development to prevent similar disasters in future. Vinod Tawde said that he felt “shattered” after visiting Malin. “Is it destiny or a man-made disaster, I wonder,” he later tweeted.

Asked whether deforestation and soil erosion could have caused the tragedy, Union Home Minister said, “Eco-friendly development is necessary which must ensure that natural balance is not tilted in the process.” To address environmental concerns related to development, he said that provisions for securing environmental and forest department clearances from both State and Central governments already exist.

However, he cautioned that it would be too early to discuss the causes behind the landslide until a proper inquiry is conducted by the Geological Survey of India. The minister patted the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and other agencies engaged in rescue work braving natural forces like intermittent heavy rain, loose earth and muck, debris and pieces of domestic items which were being extricated from the village, believed to be buried at least 10 feet.

Several excavators, dumpers, trucks and other machinery continued working overnight, as rescuers gave out with cries of happiness each time a person was noticed amid the debris.

A scooter, a motorcycle, gas cylinders, household utensils, mud-soiled clothes and other articles were unearthed for the 44 homes that were buried.

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