At least 25 people were killed when landslides, triggered by relentless rains, struck a village near Pune on Wednesday, burying over 160 as rescuers looked for survivors and bodies in the mud-and-rock debris battling rough weather.
With barely six structures, including the village panchayat office, left intact, the bustling Malin village of about 50 homes has been wiped off the state's map.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan told media persons that with about 160 people remaining trapped, the toll can go up. In pics: Rain-triggered landslide buries village near Pune
Chavan, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar besides Cabinet colleagues Harshvardhan Patil and Madhukarro Pichad on Wednesday visited the accident spot.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives in the tragedy.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh reached Pune on Thursday to take stock of the situation.
A 300-strong team comprising National Disaster Response Force, Maharashtra Disaster Response Force, police, villagers and political activists braved inclement weather, searching for people trapped under stones, boulders and sticky mud.
Large earth-moving machinery have been pressed into service but rescuers are moving slowly to avoid causing harm to the possible survivors, Pune Collector Saurav Rao said, adding the operation to clear the rubble was on.
Earlier on Wednesday, police official Vinod Pawar told media persons the accident occurred in the village located in Ambegaon taluka of Pune at about 5 am, as heavy downpour loosened earth and dislodged rocks and boulders.
Eyewitnesses claimed the landslide may have occurred at about 7 am as a driver of a state transport bus passing through failed to find the village which was his regular service stop.
Heavy rain, which lashed the picturesque region over the past four days, continued to hamper relief operations whole day and prevented rescuers from approaching the site, as flowing water kept shifting the mud.