Updated: May 3, 2018 10:26:47 pm
At least 20 people were feared dead when the bus they were travelling in fell into a pit and caught fire in East Champaran district in Bihar on Thursday, a PTI report said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed anguish over the loss of lives in the incident that took place in Motihari.
“My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones due to a bus accident in Motihari. I pray that the injured recover at the earliest,” the prime minister’s office tweeted.
My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones due to a bus accident in Motihari. I pray that the injured recover at the earliest: PM @narendramodi
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) May 3, 2018
The bus, belonging to Raj Travels, was on its way from Muzaffarpur to New Delhi. The accident occurred under the Kotwa police station area, over 75 km from the state capital, on the National Highway 28.
“It is a really sad incident. There is a provision to give compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the next of kin of dead in such cases and it will be given,” said Bihar Disaster Management and Relief Minister Dinesh Chandra Yadav.
According to Deputy Superintendent of Police (Sadar), Murli Manohar Manjhi and Officer on Special Duty to District Magistrate Ajeet Kumar, “six to eight” persons had managed to come out of the bus, which was engulfed in flames, by smashing the window panes.
They are being treated for injuries at a hospital, the officials, who were supervising rescue work at the spot, said.
State minister for disaster management Dinesh Chandra Yadav had expressed apprehension that more than 20 people could have been killed in the incident.
However, some of the surviving passengers told regional news channels that “only 13 passengers, besides the driver and a helper”, were inside the vehicle when the incident took place.
They said a total of 32 passengers had booked their seats in the private bus, out of whom only 13 had boarded at Muzaffarpur and the remaining were likely to catch the vehicle at Gopalganj.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar mourned the tragedy while addressing a function organised by the state transport department in Patna by observing one-minute silence.
“I am pained by the irony….. here we have gathered to launch schemes related to transport which includes road safety and we receive the news of the tragic mishap. It is not known how many people have died,” Kumar said afterwards.
(With PTI inputs)
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