2 pilgrims die as truck rolls down a gorge; thousands at risk



Hamirpur: While the Himachal Pradesh government may be trying its best to plug in loopholes in security arrangements at temples in the state following the tragic deaths of 146 pilgrims at the Naina Devi temple last week, an accident near Shahtalai on Saturday that killed two pilgrims and injured at least 45 others came as a warning of another major mishap-in-waiting.
The accident happened when the truck in which about 50 pilgrims were traveling rolled down into a gorge while on way to the historic Baba Balak Nath temple at Deot Sidh. The truck was coming from Ludhiana in Punjab and police said most victims belong to that town. It may be mentioned that thousands of pilgrims from the plains visit temples across Himachal Pradesh, all loaded in trucks, which is as such not permissible under the existing laws. While accidents involving trucks carrying pilgrims have been happening from time to time, the state police do little to implement traffic laws.
Recently, the police had questioned the public works department why accidents repeat at particular points on roads. The question is very much valid, but that does not shift the entire responsibility from the police’s shoulders and therefore it should do more to enforce compliance to traffic rules.

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