By Tenzin Monlam
Army and rescue workers recover bodies of landslide victims. Photo- AP
DHARAMSHALA, August 16: His Holiness the Dalai Lama has expressed his condolences to the victims of major landslide on Mandi-Pathankot National Highway in a letter to the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh yesterday after returning to Dharamshala from a lengthy trip.
“I am deeply saddened to learn that a massive landslide swept away vehicles, including public buses, on the Pathankot-Mandi Highway near Mandi on Saturday night resulting in the tragic death and injury of many people,” His holiness wrote in his letter.
The Tibetan spiritual leader also said, “I would like to offer my condolences to those families who have lost loved ones and to others affected by this catastrophe.”
Since coming into exile, the state of Himachal has been abode of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for over 57 years and evidently in his letter to the CM Virbhadra, the Dalai Lama expressed his affinity towards its people.
“Natural disasters like this are difficult to predict and consequently difficult to take precautions against. However, I wonder if the introduction of warning procedures at the first signs of trouble might help prevent the recurrence of such events in the future,” the 82-year-old Tibetan exiled leader suggested.
The Dalai Lama also added that his Trust (Dalai Lama Trust) would be making a donation to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund as a ‘token of his respect and sympathy’.
The landslide in Mandi left 46 deaths and many injured. Of the 46 bodies recovered 43 are from the Chamba-Manali bus and three from the Manali-Katra bus. CM Virbhadra also announced ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh each for next of kin of the deceased.