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31 die in bus mishap near Chamba
Balkrishan Prashar

Chamba, December 2
Thirtyone persons were killed and 33 seriously injured when a Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) bus (HP-48-4501) veered off the road and rolled down into the riverbed of the Ravi at Chaurundoo nullah, near Gehra on the Chamba-Bharmour highway, 35 km from here, this afternoon.

According to Mr Sunil Choudhary, Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC), Chamba, under whose supervision the relief and rescue operation was going on, 25 persons died on the spot while six persons succumbed to injuries on way to hospital. Almost all dead bodies had been extricated.

The ADC said 33 persons who were injured, had been admitted to Chamba and Bharmour hospitals. The condition of at least 12 persons was stated to be critical.

On getting information about the accident, Mr Choudhary and the SP, Chamba, Mr Ajay Yadav, along with a team of doctors rushed to the accident site.

The ADC said the accident occurred at Chaurundoo nullah near Gehra at about 1 pm today when the bus was on its way from Bharmour to Chamba.

The police, Home Guard jawans, along the local people, were involved in the rescue operation. Driver of the bus Subhash Chand was seriously wounded.

The ADC said that an immediate relief of Rs 5,000 each to next of kin of the deceased and Rs 2,000 each to the injured was distributed on the spot.

The Himachal Governor, Mr V.S. Kokje and the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, expressed grief over the accident. They also conveyed sympathy to the bereaved families. Mr Harsh Mahajan, Animal Husbandry Minister and Mrs Asha Kumari, Education Minister, also expressed grief.

The work to identify the bodies was still on. So far 16 bodies had been identified:

Rajinder Kumar (20), Kuldip (25), Padha Ram (31), residents of Lech village, Nimo Devi (39) of Jagat village, Dumno Ram (23) of Vales, Vidya Devi (42) of Gehra village. Minjro Devi (42) Kuthed village, Naresh (30) Barehi village, Geha Ram (70) Lapo village, Parkash Chand (20) Ghumrada village, Bodh Raj (24), Hem Raj (20) both brothers of Malha village, Bodh Raj (55) Pilani village, Mansa Ram (40) Aura Phati village, Shakti of Samra village and a six-year-old child Babloo.

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