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19 killed in Chamba bus mishap
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, April 14
Nineteen people were killed as a private bus fell into about 250 metres deep gorge on the Nacrat-Chaju road near Tiwarti, about 70 km from Chamba district headquarters. The sources available here said that the accident took place at about 2 pm as the driver of a 32-seater private bus (HP-44-7786), owned by one Bashir Mohammud, failed to control the vehicle on a sharp turn and it skidded into the deep gorge.

The sources also said that two women - Paro, a resident of Kandoa and Jyoti, a resident of Tikrigarh, who were walking on a link road below the main road were also injured seriously due to landslide that was caused due to the accident. Paro was admitted to Tissa hospital while Jyoti was intially shifted to Chamba district hospital from where she was further referred to Tanda medical college at Dharamsala.

The area is so remote that there is no mobile network there. The information regarding the accident reached Chamba district headquarters through a person travelling on the route. The sources here said the villagers gathered and started the rescue operations before district authorities could reach there.

So remote is the area that even the district authorities do not seem to have visited it earlier. The district administration officials when contacted on phone were not able to tell if the road was kuchcha or pucca. The team of doctors from Chamba also reached the spot. They are likely to complete the formalities of post-mortem examination at the site and hand over the bodies to kin of the deceased.

The minister for transport Kishan Kapoor who was in Chandigarh today cancelled all his programmes and rushed towards the accident spot. The district administration has announced an ex gratia grant of Rs 10000 for the kin of the deceased.

Earlier also, on January 21, 2000, a bus had fallen in a ditch in the same area. At that time 33 out of 34 persons travelling in the bus had died. The deputy commissioner, Chamba, Garg when contacted said that the rescue operations were likely to continue till late in the night.

The deceased include Shiv Dai, Dhuni Chand, driver of the bus, Chuni Lal, Kaul Singh, Des Raj, Masaudi Ram, Khair Mohamud, bus conductor, Kamla Devi, Champa Devi, Gurdial, Subhash, Chain Lal, Ishwar Chand, Kuwar Dai, Durgo, Timru, Bena Devi, Dharam Chand and Hem Raj.

Chief Minister P.K. Dhumal has expressed grief at the tragedy and offered condolences to the families of those killed in the accident. Rajya Sabha MP Shanta Kumar and state BJP chief Jai Ram Thakur have also expressed grief at the tragedy.

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