13 killed, 34 injured as mini-bus plunges into gorge

Banihal: Thirteen people were killed and 34 injured, some of them seriously, when a mini-bus in which they were travelling plunged into a gorge in Ramban district Sunday.
The vehicle was on its way to Ramban town from Banihal when it skidded off the road and rolled down into the 800-ft deep gorge at Battery Chashma at around 3:45 PM, police said.
The mini-bus was packed with passengers, they said adding the army and police personnel rushed to the scene and launched rescue operations.
Some passengers were evacuated by IAF choppers, a defence spokesman said.
Ten people died instantly and three in GMC Hospital in Jammu, police said.
The injured were rushed to hospitals in Jammu and Srinagar for treatment.
A driver who stopped his vehicle to see the mini-bus falling into the gorge also slipped into the ravine and died, police said.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah expressed grief over the loss of lives and offered his condolences to the bereaved families.
He sanctioned a financial relief of Rs one lakh each to the next of kin of those killed and Rs 10,000 each for the injured who had been hospitalised, officials said.

‘LA panel’s recommendations gathering dust’
Expressing shock and grief over the accident, CPI (M) State Secretary Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami blamed the government’s ‘callousness’ for increasing number of accidents in the state.
In a statement, Tarigami said that following a  number of accidents in erstwhile Doda and Jammu regions, a panel of the Legislative Assembly headed by him had submitted a detailed report before the government but ‘unfortunately the same is gathering dust’.
“The recommendations put forth by the committee are yet to be implemented . This is unfortunate and utter callousness on part of the state administration which owes an explanation on the latest fatal road accident,” Tarigami said.

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