Dharamsala, Aug 13 (PTI) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today reached the site where eight passengers were killed after two buses were hit by a landslide in Kotrupi, to take stock of relief operations.

According to an official release, the state government has announced an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased.

The chief minister also met the victims’ families, assured all possible to them and announced that the government would bear expenses of treatment of injured passengers, said DPRO, Shimla.

Two state roadway buses were hit by a massive landslide last night triggered by a cloudburst on the Mandi-Pathankot National Highway, leaving eight passengers dead while the fate of 22 others was not immediately known.

Himachal Pradesh Transport minister G S Bali said the toll could climb to 50.

Meanwhile, the Mandi district administration has closed the Mandi-Aut section of the Chandigarh-Manali highway.

In a notification, the district administration has advised people to take the Mandi-Kullu route via Kalota.

Also the Jogindernagar-Mandi section of the Pathankot- Mandi National highway has been closed.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.