17 die as bus falls in gorge

Many others hurt in mishap on Jammu-Srinagar road

At least 17 people, including six women and a child were killed and 30 others were injured when a bus fell into a deep gorge on Jammu-Srinagar national highway near Ramban on Tuesday.

Reports said the accident occurred when the driver of the bus lost control at Digdol in Ramban district, 130 km from Srinagar. 

Police said 17 passengers have died so far, while 30 were injured. “Some of the seriously injured were air-lifted to Jammu,” police added.

Some of the injured passengers reportedly told police that the driver was asked to break the journey and rest for some time but he decided to go ahead. The bus was travelling overnight from Jammu to Srinagar.

The accident took place due to the “negligence of the driver,” a police officer said and added most of the bodies recovered were badly mutilated.

Most of the passengers in the bus were youth going to the Kashmir Valley from Poonch and Rajouri districts for a recruitment rally. A few other passengers were from Gujarat.

CM, Guv express grief

Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah  expressed grief over the  accident.

“Vohra and Omar have conveyed their solidarity and sympathy to the bereaved families and prayed for peace to the departed souls. They also prayed for early recovery of the injured,” an official spokesman said here.

The Governor also expressed regret over the failure of the authorities to effectively enforce strict measures required to reduce fatal road accidents on the highway, the spokesman said.

He also said that the Chief Minister directed the health authorities concerned and the district administration to provide all possible medical treatment and help to the injured.
State secretary of CPI-M M Y Tarigami also expressed shock and grief over the fatal accident and held “callousness” of the administration responsible for the increasing number of accidents in the state.

“A house committee headed by me, following mounting number of accidents in the erstwhile Doda region and the National Highway in Jammu region, submitted a detailed report before the government, but unfortunately it is gathering dust,” Tarigami said in a statement.

He said the recommendations put forth by the committee have not been implemented so far.

“This is unfortunate and utter callousness on the part of the state administration, which owes an explanation on the latest fatal road accident,” he said.

He said that over two years have passed since the panel submitted its report, but the government is yet to come out with its ‘action taken report’ on the recommendations.
“This speaks volumes about the government’s indifferent attitude towards this serious humanitarian crisis. The repeated road accidents in Doda, Kistwar, Ramban and Udhampur districts must be a grave concern for the state government,” the CPI-M leader said.

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