INDIA. Mumbai: At least 13 passengers, including four women and a minor, were killed when an ST bus belonging to MSRTC, carrying over 50 passengers fell from a bridge into the Narmada river near Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh on Monday.
The bus, operated by the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC), was on its way to Indore from Amalner in Jalgaon (Maharashtra) (Madhya Pradesh). MSRTC Managing Director Shekhar Channe told the Transcontinental Times that it fell into the river around 9:30 a.m.
The 13 bodies have been retrieved while the efforts are on to trace the remaining missing persons. Out of 13 deceased, the identity of 8 passengers has been established. The dead include the driver and conductor of the bus- Chandrakant Eknath Patil and Prakash Shravan Chaudhary. They both hailed from Amalner in Jalgaon.
The other six deceased were identified as: 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 Jalgaon, Aarva Murtuja Bora (27) from Akola in Maharashtra, and Saifuddin Abbas Nurani from Indore in MP. Fifteen rescued passengers have been admitted to a local hospital in Dhamnod in Madhya Pradesh.
The accident happened near the Dhar and Khargone borders on National Highway No. 3 (Agra-Mumbai road). The bus collided with the railing of the bridge connecting Khalghat and Thigari, about 230 kilometres from Jalgaon, before plunging into the river.
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 by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Earlier in the day, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Chauhan telephoned his counterpart in Maharashtra, Eknath Shinde, and briefed him about the accident and the rescue operations. Shinde requested Chouhan to ask the Khargone and Dhar district administrations to provide necessary assistance to the accident victims. He also 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.
The fitness certificate of the 10-year-old ill-fated bus was about to expire in 10 days. It was registered with the Nagpur rural Regional Transport Office on June 12, 2012, and its certificate was about to expire on July 27, 2022. However the vehicle was roadworthy, the RTO sources in Mumbai said.
The Jalgaon district collectorate has set up a control room having helpline numbers – 09555899091, 0257-2223180, and 0257-2217193. The MSRTC too 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, an MSRTC spokesman said.