Bhanu P Lohumi
Tribune News Service
Shimla, July 25
Shooting boulders triggered by a landslide hit a tourist vehicle near Batseri, 8 km from Sangla in Kinnaur district, killing nine persons on Sunday afternoon.
Duel over parking just before tragedy
On way to Chitkul, the Tempo Traveller driver had an altercation with the driver of a car over parking. Minutes later, boulders hit the Tempo Traveller, killing nine passengers.
The vehicle, a Tempo Traveller, carrying 11 persons was passing through the spot where the rolling stones fell. While eight persons died on the spot, one succumbed to injuries on way to hospital. Three others, including a pedestrian, sustained injuries. The deceased were identified as Maya Devi Banyani (55), her son Anurag Biyani (31) and daughter Richa Biyana (35), all of Sikar (Rajasthan), driver Umrab Singh (42) of Delhi, Pratiksha Sunil Patil (27) of Maharashtra, Deepa Sharma (34) of Rajasthan, Amogh Bapat (27) and Satish Katakbar (34) of Chhattisgarh and Kumar Ulhas (37).
The injured — Shiril Oberoi (39) of Delhi, Naveen Bhardwaj (37) of Mohali and Ranjeet Singh (45) of Kinnaur — were under treatment at Community Health Centre, Sangla.
Video clips of the incident, which surfaced on social media, showed a bridge over the Baspa river collapsing after being hit by boulders. A house and some other vehicles were also damaged.
Saju Ram Rana, SP, Kinnaur, said the tourists had hired the vehicle on a sharing basis and they were on their way to Chitkul from Sangla. Rescue teams reached the spot, but stones were still rolling down, hampering operations. “The road has been closed for traffic and cops have been deployed on the affected stretch. Nearly 50 vehicles were stranded,” he said.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur expressed grief over the incident and directed the administration to ensure immediate relief to the affected people.
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