M A I N   N E W S

19 die as bus falls into Ravi
Our Correspondent

Chamba, January 19
All 19 persons travelling in a bus, including the driver and the conductor, were killed when the bus veered off the road and fell into the flowing Ravi river, about 150 metres deep, at Garola, about 55 km from here today at about 9 a.m. The bus was on its way from Holi to the Bharmour tribal township in Chamba district.

On receiving the information about the accident, the Deputy Commissioner of Chamba, Mr Rahul Anand, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Sunil Choudhary, Superintendent of Police, Mr S.P. Singh, Chief Medical Officer, Dr R.K. Choudhary, accompanied by a team of doctors, a fire engine and jawans of Home Guards rushed to the accident site to carry out relief and rescue operations.

The jawans, police and firemen helped extricate the bodies from the ill-fated private bus.

All the 19 bodies were in a mutilated condition. They have been extricated from the bus lying in wrecked condition in the river waters.

The dead have been identified as Sandeep Kumar (19 years) resident of Garola village, Shakti Parshad (24) of Ghrani village, Mohan Lal (34) of Chanauta village, Nisha Devi (22) of Kakdi village, Tilak Raj (22) of Sam village, Swaran Kanta (18) of Garola village, Baldev Singh (30) of Gagal village (Gured), his wife Geeta Devi (22) and son Munish Kumar (3), Radha Devi (18) of Tur Barehi village (Dunali), Rinki Devi (23) of Sutkar village (Holi), Krishni Devi (35) of Ghateli village (Garola), Halya Devi (45) of Sam village, Gian Chand (52) of Quarsi village, Bimla Devi (42) of Garola village, Vyasa Devi (50) of Garola village, Rahul Choudhary (18), conductor of the bus, Ravinder, alias Ravi Kumar (32) of Banikhet village, driver of the bus. One body is still unidentified.

The 19 occupants of the bus included nine women and a three-year old child.

Mr Subhash Nanda, Assistant Commissioner, informed that the Deputy Commissioner of Chamba and sanctioned an immediate relief of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of all deceased. The bodies were being handed over to the families.

The Himachal Governor, Mr V.S. Kokje, and Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, have expressed their grief and sympathy to the bereaved families.

Mr Harsh Mahajan, Animal Husbandry Minister, Mrs Asha Kumari, Education Minister, have also expressed their shock over the accident.

Meanwhile, the DC has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the accident. The police has registered a case.

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