At least 13 people, including four women and a minor, were killed when a bus carrying over 30 passengers fell from a bridge into the Narmada river near Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh Monday morning, an official said.
The bus, belonging to Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC), was en route from Madhya Pradesh’s Indore to neighbouring to Amalner in Jalgaon district of neighbouring Maharashtra, when it slipped into the river at around 9:30 am, the MSRTC managing director Shekhar Channe told The Indian Express.
The accident occurred on National Highway No.3 (Agra-Mumbai road), situated close to Dhar and Khargone borders, as per a report from newsagency PTI. The bus crashed into a railing of the bridge between Khalghat and Thigari, around 230-km-away from Jalgaon, before falling into the river, the report said.
“Thirteen bodies have been retrieved,” Indore Zone Inspector General of Police Rakesh Gupta told PTI. Eight among them have been identified.
The driver and the conductor of the bus are among the deceased and have been identified as Chandrakant Eknath Patil and Prakash Shravan Chaudhary respectively. Both hailed from Amalner in Jalgaon.
The six other deceased, whose identified have been ascertained, were Chetan Ramgopal Jangid from Jaipur in Rajasthan, Jagannath Hemraj Joshi (70) from Udaipur in Rajasthan, Nibaji Ananda Patil (60), Kamalabai Nibaji Patil (55), both from Amalner in Jalagaon, Aarva Murtuja Bora (27) from Akola in Maharashtra, and Saifuddin Abbas Nurani from Indore in MP.
As many as 15 people have been rescued, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra, told mediapersons in Bhopal.
The river current was strong, he said, adding the rescue operation was on. The bus was pulled out of the river with the help of a crane.
With the directions from Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, an ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased was announced by the MSRTC.
This is in addition to Rs 2 lakh announced earlier in the day by the Prime Minister’s Office.
An ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh each from PMNRF would be given to the next of kin of those who lost their lives due to the bus tragedy in Dhar, Madhya Pradesh. The injured would be given Rs. 50,000: PM @narendramodi
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) July 18, 2022
Earlier in the day, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Chauhan said he telephoned his counterpart in Maharashtra, Eknath Shinde, and briefed him about the accident and the rescue operation.
इंदौर से पुणे जा रही बस के धार में हुई दुखद दुर्घटना के संबंध में महाराष्ट्र के मुख्यमंत्री श्री @mieknathshinde जी से फोन पर चर्चा कर उन्हें वस्तुस्थिति से अवगत कराया। महाराष्ट्र के यात्रियों के शवों को ससम्मान वहां भेजने की व्यवस्था करने के संबंध में भी जानकारी दी।
Mr Shinde said he has directed the Jalgaon collector to coordinate with the administration concerned in MP to carry out the rescue operation and provide treatment to the injured passengers.
After getting news of the accident, Shinde immediately spoke to MP CM Chouhan and requested him to ask the Khargone and Dhar district administrations to provide necessary assistance to the accident victims.
The Jalgaon district collectorate has set up a control room having helpline numbers – 09555899091, 0257-2223180 and 0257-2217193.
The MSRTC has also set up a helpline for citizens and they can dial 022-23023940 to get information about the accident and their relatives who were on the bus.
Interestingly, the fitness certificate of the 10-year-old was about to expire in 10 days.
The bus was registered with the Nagpur rural Regional Transport Office on June 12, 2012, and its certificate, which implies that the vehicle is roadworthy, was about to expire on July 27, 2022, a senior RTO official said as quoted by the PTI.
The MSRTC has set up a helpline for citizens and they can dial 022-23023940 to get information about the accident.
(With inputs from PTI)