Seven labourers were killed when the vehicle in which they were travelling fell into a rivulet in Himachal Pradesh’s Mandi district Monday, police said.
The victims, all hailing from Bihar, had arrived in the state during the night to work in a tent house, and were being taken to their place of work when the incident occurred. The driver of the vehicle was injured in the accident.
According to the police, the incident occurred at around 2 am at the Pulghrat bridge, around two kilometres from Mandi, when the victims were travelling from Mandi to Gutkar.
Earlier in the night, they had arrived in the state by bus from Ludhiana, and had mistakenly alighted at Mandi instead of Gutkar, which is around seven kilometres south of the town on the Chandigarh-Manali highway. Their employer then sent a Mahindra Bolero Pik-Up truck to bring them to Gutkar.
Al Pulghrat, the driver failed to negotiate a curve on the bridge and as a result, the vehicle broke through the railing on the opposite side and fell into the Suketi Khad below. The vehicle landed on its tyres, but the workers, who were travelling in the bed of the truck, suffered grievous injuries. Six of them died at the spot, while another one succumbed to his injuries in the hospital, the police said.
The deceased were identified as Hasrat (26), Mohammad Imran (28), Sabir Alam (21), Mohammad Sajid (19), Faijan Reja (16), Shahjahan Raja (18) and Anvarul Haque (20), all residents of villages in Bihar’s Katihar district.
Their bodies were shifted to the mortuary at the zonal hospital in Mandi, and were in the process of being handed over to their families following their autopsies at the time of filing of this report. The police have registered a case of rash driving and causing death due to negligence at the Mandi Sadar police station, and the injured driver is currently hospitalised.
“Ahead of some upcoming weddings, a tent house owner from Behna near Gutkar had hired the workers from outside the state due to shortage of labour here,” said Dharam Chand, a resident of the area. He added that the spot where the vehicle fell into the rivulet is an accident-prone site due to a sharp curve while entering the bridge.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his grief over the loss of lives in the accident and conveyed his condolences to the bereaved family members. In a tweet, he said the government is carrying out a rescue and relief work, and wished a quick recovery to the injured.
President Ram Nath Kovind said he was deeply saddened to learn about the road accident. “My condolences to the bereaved families,” he said in a tweet.
Himachal Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said that the government will provide “all possible help” to the affected families.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines