M A I N   N E W S

14 girls die as buses collide on Khamano road
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib (Morinda), January 3
Fourteen girls and a bus driver were killed while 35 persons sustained injuries in a head-on collision between two private buses on the Khamano road at Paulomajra village in Fatehgarh Sahib district this morning. The four seriously injured have been admitted to the Civil Hospital, Morinda, and 10 victims have been referred to the PGI, Chandigarh.

The mishap took place about 7.45 am when the ill-fated mini bus carrying girls from four villages to a factory situated at Macchiwara in Ludhiana, collided with a private bus coming from the opposite direction. The bus was on its way to Morinda.

The driver of the mini bus, Makhan Singh, and Kiranjit Kaur, Sarbjit Kaur, Hardeep Kaur and Kulwinder Kaur died on the spot while seven girls died at the Civil Hospital, Morinda. Rajinder Kaur was declared brought dead at the PGI.

The condition of the injured, including the driver of the bus, who have been admitted to the PGI, is said to be critical.

In the evening, the bodies of 13 girls and the driver were taken for a post-mortem examination from Morinda to the Civil Hospital, Bassi.

The victims belonged to the villages of Kalaund, Nandpur, Wazidpur and Gaupalan (Fatehgarh district) and worked at the factory in Ludhiana. Locals and commuters took the injured to the Morinda Civil Hospital. Later the police from Morinda and Khamano also helped. The injured were first admitted to the Civil Hospital, but due to inadequate staff and facilities, the critically injured were referred to the PGI.

Sarbjit Kaur said: “I am not aware what exactly happened but I recall that a speeding bus hit our bus with great impact. We all fell down and most of us were rendered unconscious and suffered serious injuries.”

Most of the girls died due to head injuries.

The DSP, Fatehgarh Sahib, Mr Balwant Singh, said the cause of the accident was high speed of the buses and dense fog. “We have registered a case against Malkiat Singh, bus driver of the private bus, for rash and negligent driving. It is learnt that the owner had newly recruited the driver,” he added.

The in charge of the Civil Hospital, Bassi, Dr A.P.S Sandhu, said after the post-mortem examinations, the bodies had been handed over to the family members of the deceased.

Tribune reporter add: The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has expressed grief over the accident and has announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh each for the kin of the deceased and Rs 25,000 each for the injured.

The Deputy Commissioner and the SSP said the expenses on the treatment would be borne by the District Red Cross Society.

The deceased have been identified as Makhan Singh, Karamjeet Kaur, Sunita Devi, Hardeep Kaur, Baljeet Kaur, Jaswant Kaur, Dalbeer Kaur, Sukhwinder Kaur, Baljinder Kaur, Kuldep Kaur, Charanjeet Kaur, Sarabjeet Kaur and Kulwinder Kaur.

Khamano/Ludhiana: Meanwhile, some grieving parents exposed the sorry state of government hospitals. They alleged that some of the seriously injured could have been saved if timely medical aid had been given to them. They alleged that the doctors on emergency duty at Khamano and Morinda hospitals were not present when the injured were wheeled in.

While Dr Charanjit Singh, SMO, Khamano, was not present in the hospital, the doctor on emergency duty at Morinda hospital too was absent from duty. The two seriously girls, who were brought to Khamano hospital, could have been saved if a doctor was present, they said. The girls had to be rushed to Morinda but here too the doctor was absent from duty, the parents alleged.



They were yet to get first pay
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Nandpur-Kalaur (Fatehgarh Sahib), January 3
“She was so excited as it was her first day to work at the Dhaaga factory” (as the spinning mill in nearby Machiwara is known as), say grieving relatives of Kuldeep Kaur. Sadly it was also her last. Nineteen-year-old Kuldeep and 10 other girls of these two villages, which are divided by a road were among the 16 persons who lost their lives when the minibus they were travailing in rammed into a bus near Khamanon in the district today morning.

Not even the children stayed at home when the bodies of the girls arrived at the common ‘Daana Mandi” of both the villages here. There were heartrending scenes when parents rushed to identify their wards. After this there was a division of the bodies of the girls of Nandpur and Kalaur villages which were taken to separate cremation grounds in both the villages immediately rather than being taken to individual houses.

At Kalaur the cremation ground does not seem to have been planned for big cremations. It need not be as it has a population of only four thousand. Today the cremation ground was jam packed with nearly the entire population of the village coming out to share the grief of the ill-fated families. All seven bodies were placed on a single pyre in the middle of the cremation ground. The last act of the parents and relatives was to part with the clothes of their children which had been handed over to them with the bodies.

While parents wept, children went around asking questions as to what was going on. Nine-year-old Jasbir wanted to know why Kulwinder ‘didi’ had been placed on the pyre. There were apparently no answers.

Many of the parents were inconsolable. Sajjan Singh of Kular who lost two of his daughters, Kiranjit Kaur and Sarabjit Kaur, was heard saying “eh te mera putar si” (they were my sons) adding that he had lost the will to live any more. But for fate, many of the girls might not have been in the minibus at all. Though many girls from neighbouring villages had been recruited for work at the Malwa Spinning Mill in Machiwara, the phenomenon was new in both Kular and Nandpur villages.

Villagers said the girls had started going to work at the spinning mill only last month. While there were only a few girls going to work from the village in the beginning, the strength increased later, they said. The girls were to get their first pay check on January 7.

Ten bodies of Kuldeep, Baljinder, Kulwinder, Sarabjit, Kiranjit, Karamjit and Sukhwinder of Kular village and of Sunita Rani, Mandeep and Hardeep of Nandpur were cremated in the evening at both the villages, respectively. The parents of Rajinder, who was rushed to the PGI in Chandigarh and died there, were awaiting the arrival of the body of their daughter in the village till late evening.


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