Kishtwar bus accident: J-K Guv announces ex-gratia Rs 5 lakh to kin of deceasedhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/kishtwar-bus-accident-j-k-guv-announces-ex-gratia-rs-5-lakh-to-kin-of-deceased-jammu-5808798/

Kishtwar bus accident: J-K Guv announces ex-gratia Rs 5 lakh to kin of deceased

At least 35 passengers were killed Monday morning when a minibus fell into a deep gorge along Keshwan-Thakrai road in Jammu and Kashmir's Kishtwar district

At least 35 people were killed and 17 injured in the Jammu bus accident which fell into a deep gorge in Kishtwar district. (Source: ANI)

Governor Satya Pal Malik Monday announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed in the Jammu road accident on Monday morning. At least 35 were killed after a bus fell in a deep gorge in Kishtwar district of the state. Malik further directed the administration to provide best medical treatment to the injured.

The mini bus, according to initial reports, appeared to be carrying excess passengers.

The Raj Bhavan spokesperson said that a few months ago the Governor had observed that most of the accidents take place due to careless and untrained drivers who drive without any regard for rules and regulations and become the reason for losing so many precious lives. He further directed officers of the Transport Department to take away unfit vehicles and untrained drivers off the road, adding that all such incidents will be thoroughly probed and strong decisions will be taken in the next SAC meeting to ensure strict action against those responsible.

In a condolence message to the bereaved families, Malik expressed grief over the loss of lives in the minibus accident and conveyed his sympathies to them.

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Reacting to the accident, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, tweeted, “Successive administrations are all guilty of the same thing – accident; high death toll; condolence statement; announcement of ex-gratia relief & we repeat the cycle the next time an accident happens. The next Government in J&K HAS TO break this cycle & end this indifference.”

Calling the frequent accidents in Jammu and Kashmir as a ‘very disturbing trend’, former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti urged the state government to ensure proper road safety measures to avoid loss of human lives. Adding that the state was yet to come out of grief inflicted by Peer Ki Gali accident in which 11 students were killed, she said today’s gruesome Kishtwar episode should be enough to make the government ponder over why the road links in the state, especially in the hilly areas, are becoming the death traps for common masses with each passing day.

Grieving the death of the 35 people, the Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) president G A Mir urged the transport authorities to “wake up from a deep slumber” and take urgent effective measures to ensure safety of passengers in the hilly and plain areas. He also sought full compensation to the families of the deceased.

Stating the accident as ‘unfortunate, painful and shocking’, Mir, in a condolence statement said, “The loss of precious lives in Kishtwar has dismayed me, I have no words to express my grief over the loss of precious lives in Kishtwar, I convey my heartfelt condolences to bereaved families and pray for eternal peace to departed souls.”

Stating that the valley tops the list of “high accidental death-prone areas” in the country, Peoples Conference Chairman Sajad Gani Lone said the administration must do a vulnerability assessment of the roads especially on tricky and winding mountainous roads and take corrective measures to prevent reoccurrence of such tragic accidents. He also appealed the administration to provide the best medical treatment to the injured.

“Despite alarming frequency of road accidents causing death in our state, no concrete measures have been adopted to tackle the issue. J&K tops the list of “high accidental death-prone areas” in the entire country,” Lone said.