Solan, March 7
Five migrant labourers were killed while four others were grievously injured when an SUV ploughed into them near Dharampur on the Shimla-Kalka national highway in Solan district of Himachal Pradesh. The mishap occurred around 9.10 am when the victims, hailing from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, were walking to work, the police said.
An eyewitness claimed that the speeding Toyota Innova (HP02A-1540), which was headed to Parwanoo, first hit the pedestrians and then rammed into a roadside crash barrier. The driver, Rajesh Kumar (23), a resident of Kharoli village in Kasauli, escaped with minor injuries. He was trying to overtake another vehicle when he lost control over the Innova, the police said.
A few of the victims were flung into a gorge alongside the highway while others collapsed on the road. All five labourers died on the spot. The deceased had been identified as Guddu Yadav, Raja Verma, Nippu Nishad, Motilal Yadav and Sunny Deval, said Parwanoo DSP Pranav Chauhan. The injured were rushed to a nearby hospital from where two of them were referred to the PGI, Chandigarh. Solan SP Virender Sharma said Rajesh did not possess a driver's licence and the insurance certificate of the SUV had also expired. The vehicle owner ran a guest house and appropriate action would be initiated after an investigation, the police said, adding it was yet to be ascertained whether the driver was drunk. The police faced a major challenge in ensuring the driver's safety as a large number of labourers gathered outside the hospital demanding adequate compensation to the next of kin of the deceased.
Kasauli SDM Gaurav Mahajan said an immediate assistance of Rs 15,000 had been provided while two ambulances were arranged to carry the bodies to UP and Bihar.
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