M A I N   N E W S

19 devotees die in Beas accident
Varinder Walia & Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

This is the fifth accident on this road in the past five days. A woman was killed and 14 persons were injured in a collision between a tractor-trailer and a bus yesterday. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had announced the
four-laning of the road to mark the tercentenary celebrations of the birth of Khalsa Panth but the project failed to take off. Recently Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, the BJP Member Parliament from Amritsar, had also raised this issue in the Parliament.

Beas, April 1
At least 19 devotees who were on way to Dera Baba Jaimal Singh, Beas, were killed and 41 others were injured in a head-on-collision between a Swaraj Mazda and a truck near Dera Beas on the Amritsar-Jalandhar GT Road this morning. The injured were rushed to the Baba Sawan Singh Charitable Hospital here.

Most of the victims belonged to Maqboolpura, a colony located on the outskirts of Amritsar.

The ill-fated Swaraj Mazda (PB 02 a 9223) was carrying more than 60 devotees from Maqboolpura and its adjoining localities of Amritsar when it collided head on with a truck (HR 64-9315) at about 7 am. The devotees were going to perform kar seva at the dera in Beas.

The canter driver , Bittu, who also belonged to Maqboolpura, was crushed to death. The driver of the truck fled immediately after the mishap.

Out of the 19 persons killed in the accident 11 were women. Four schoolchildren were also among those killed.

As many as 13 devotees died on the spot while six others succumbed to their injuries in the hospital.

A pall of gloom descended on Maqboolpura, Jawaharpura and its adjoining localities and shopkeepers downed their shutters as the news of the tragedy spread in the area.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, announced an ex-gratia grant of Rs1 lakh each to the next of the kin of the deceased and Rs 25,000 for the injured. He also directed the administration of Amritsar district to provide free medical treatment to the injured and ensure adequate arrangements for the free transportation of the bodies to their respective destinations.

Earlier, the Council of Ministers, in its meeting held under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister, expressed profound grief and sorrow over the tragic mishap. The Council of Ministers also observed a two-minute silence in the memory of the departed souls.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Kirandip Singh Bhullar; Ms Vibhu Raj, district police chief of Majitha; Mr Rajinder Singh, SDM Baba Bakala and Mr Baldev Singh, Additional Deputy Commisioner, visited the spot of the accident. According to Mr Parmjit Singh Gill , DIG (border range), the police patrol party reached the site of the accident in less than 10 minutes of the mishap and helped in the rescue operation .

Narinder Singh, an eyewitness and owner of ‘Kalanour Dhaba’, near the site of the mishap, said he rescued at least 10 persons by dragging them out of the mangled remains of the truck and canter. He said the canter was over-loaded with devotees. It is believed that the accident occurred as the canter driver tried to overtake a vehicle.

The worst affected family is that of Jatinder Singh who lost his mother Balwinder Kaur, aunt Surjit Kaur and brother Ranjit Singh in the accident. Jatinder Singh himself sustained injuries in the mishap.

Those killed in the accident have been identified as Balwinder Kaur, , Sukhjit Kaur, Gurpreet Singh, Surjith Kaur (52), Surjit Kaur (40), Prince, Mohinder Kaur, Darshan Kaur, Sita Rani, Simranjit Singh, Rajwinder Kaur, Hardev Singh, Kulwinder Kaur, Charn Kaur and Shingara Singh.

List of injured: Ranjit Singh(14) , Kashmir Kaur (35), Joginder Kaur (40), Hansa Singh (35), Jaswinder Kaur (35), Harjit Singh(12), Rajwinder Kaur (20), Ranjit Singh (11), Rajinder Kaur(20) Gurjit Singh (12), Deepo (45), Ajit Singh (35), Dalip Kaur (50) and Kailasho (35), all residents of Kaler village . Dalbir Singh (55), Jasbir Singh (38), Gurmukh Singh (35), Jyoti (13), Anil Kumar (17), Roshan (20) and Rajkumar (35) of Maqboolpura, Naranjan Singh (45) and Nirvair Singh (45) of Vadda Cheta village. Manjit Kaur (25) and Raju (19) of Rampur village. Santokh Singh (60) of Mangala village. Jagdeep Singh (18) of Bhagtupur village, Avinash (45) of New Preet Nagar, Raj (40), Sakattar Singh (12), Parneet Kaur (23) and Daler Singh (17) of Jawahar Nagar, Sukhdev Raj (48), Naveen Kumar (25), Kanwaljit Kaur (18) of Sultanwind, Amrik Singh (48) of New Jawahar Nagar, Dulla Singh (60), Prabhjot Kaur (12) and Raju (35) of Rasulpur.Two of the injured were yet to be identified. 


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