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Fresh tremors hit many states, toll climbs to 62

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NEW DELHI: Nepal and the impoverished Indian state of Bihar share a relationship of being united in grief and every natural disaster that strikes the small Himalayan country gives credence to a feeling that artificial boundaries cannot separate a deep link of seismic waves.

The death toll in India was revised to 62 on Sunday after the massive earthquake struck Nepal around Saturday noon. Fifty of them belonged to Bihar and 259 people were reported injured across the country. The death toll in neighbouring Nepal crossed 2,200.

A breach in the Kosi embankment near the Indo-Nepal border on 18 August 2008 made the river change its course and inundate areas which hadn't experienced floods in many decades. The flood affected over 2.3 million people in the northern part of Bihar.

Pleasure and its pursuit are private and divisive while grief and sorrow binds human beings. So it's understandable that Bihar is the state that feels the pain more acutely than other parts of India.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar said that the state government had decided to chip in with whatever it could provide to the earthquake victims in addition to the aid by the Centre. Kumar said, "We share border with Nepal and the people of the two areas have been living together for ages which warrant us to provide humanitarian assistance at our level too."

Fresh tremors were felt on Sunday in northern and eastern parts of India sparking panic. The tremors triggered by a 6.7-magnitude aftershock epicentred in Nepal were experienced in West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Jharkhand, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Delhi for over 30 seconds at 12:42pm.

The government announced Rs 6 lakh compensation to the relatives of those killed as Prime Minister Narendra Modi took stock of rescue and relief operations at a review meeting.

Out of 38 aftershocks emanating from the epicentre of the earthquake in Nepal since Saturday, eight have been felt in Bihar measuring between 5.5 and 6.9 on the Richter Scale, a MET official said.

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee visited people in north Bengal affected by the quake and said that a rescue team is being sent to Nepal. An Indian army expedition team rescued over 61 climbers from Mount Everest and retrieved 19 bodies.

"19 dead bodies were retrieved and 61 injured persons were rescued by the Indian Army Expedition Team. The Medical Officer has treated a number of injured international mountaineers in addition to the 61 listed above and considerable medicines and rations have been distributed from own resources," an Army statement said.

The Sikh community did what is renowned for and said it will send 25,000 food packets to Kathmandu each day from Monday. They will also be making arrangements to prepare and distribute "langar" (community kitchen) in Nepal to provide relief to earthquake victims.