Shimla: Nineteen passengers traveling in a private bus in Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh died today when the bus fell into a gorge near Baghaigarh village, 80 kilometers from district headquarter. The private bus number HP-44-7786 was on its way from Nakrot to Charda village in Tissa block and the bus rolled down about 700 feet, around 2:00 p.m. today. The dead include 12 males, 6 females and a child. The only survivor, who jumped off the bus mid-way is under great shock, said the officials and was not in a position to talk. He had sustained head injuries.
The deceased passengers belonged to Charda, Bhrada, Kalei, Kuddi and Chanju villages in Tissa block.
According to Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) D K Chaudhary, all 19 bodies had been recovered and had been handed over to the respective families after conducting the postmortem at the accident site.
It is learnt from the locals that roads in the area are very narrow and usually are not in a good condition, which increases the risks of such accidents.
The intensity of the accident was such that the remains of the bus could not be located and the bodies were so deformed that their family members were not able to identify them, except from their clothes.
Though cause of the accident has yet not been ascertained, this accident has also once again brought to fore the question whether the government’s efforts to check such accidents in which many lives are lost. This is not the first accident in the past few years where passengers have lost lives in large numbers on roads of the state while traveling in busses.
Over 45 passengers had lost their lives in accident of a private bus near Kufri in Shimla district during 2008. In the inquiry report of the district administration one of the prime causes was found to be use of music system in the bus and resulting in negligence of driver, besides bad condition of the road at the spot on the National Highway, where parapets were absent.
Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and Governor Prabha Rau have expressed grief over the accident. Transport Minister Krishan Kapoor and local MLA Surender Bhardwaj visited the accident site and supervised the relief and rescue operations.