RAMBAN, Feb 7: Four persons including a driver were killed and five others received serious injuries when a Tavera car, they were traveling in, skidded off the road and plunged into Bisleri nullah at Digdool on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway.
The ill-fated vehicle bearing registration number JK03D-0989 was on its way to Jammu from Srinagar when it met with accident. According to the injured passengers, the driver in order to prevent vehicle from being hit by a shooting stone lost control over it as a result of which Tavera plunged into Bisleri nullah at Digdool.
Before landing in the bottom of the gorge, the vehicle collided with several rocks thereby causing grievous injuries to all its occupants.
On getting information about the accident, a police team from Ramban Police Station immediately swung into action and started rescue operation with the help of locals. SSP Ramban Randeep Kumar also reached the spot to personally supervise the rescue work.
After hectic efforts, the rescue teams managed to reach the bottom of the gorge and found three persons dead. All the six injured persons were immediately brought out of the gorge and rushed to District Hospital Ramban in different vehicles.
However, one of them was declared as brought dead by the doctors as a result of which the toll rose to four. Later, all the five injured passengers were referred to different hospitals in Kashmir valley after first-aid treatment. Their condition was stated to be out of danger when reports last came in.
The deceased have been identified as Hakeem Rauf (40), son of Ghulam Nabi Hussain, a resident of Gassepura Wanpoh, Sameena Begum (36), wife of Altaf Hussain, a resident of Areshapura Shopian, Abdul Rashid Sheikh (44), son of Abdul Aziz Sheikh, a resident of Khrew Pulwama and Mohammad Yousuf Magrey (driver), a resident of Bandipora.
The injured have been identified as Shabir Ahmed (35), son of Mohammad Yousuf, Lali Begum (30), wife of Shabir Ahmed, Musaib (10), son of Shabir Ahmed Gani and Muzain (8), son of Altaf Hussain, all residents of Areshapura, Shopian and Javed Ahmed (40), son of Ghulam Mohammad of Diyalgam, Srinagar were referred to different hospitals of Srinagar for advanced treatment.
Holding the highway maintenance agency responsible for the tragic accident, people said that despite being aware of the fact that shooting stones is a regular phenomenon in Digdool area, the agency had not taken any measures to stabilize the rock. “Had such an exercise been carried out, the loss of lives in this and numerous other accidents at this spot during the past some months could have been avoided”, they said.
It is pertinent to mention here that during the just concluded Budget Session of State Legislature, the MLA from Banihal Vikar Rasool Wani had brought to the notice of the Government that due to poor maintenance of the existing highway 36 persons lost their lives and 95 others sustained injuries in road accidents on Ramban to Banihal stretch of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway during the past eight months.
However, the issue was not taken seriously by the Government as a result of which one more tragic accident took place on this stretch today.
Meanwhile, Governor NN Vohra has expressed grief over the loss of lives in the road accident.
In a condolence message, the Governor has conveyed his sympathies to the bereaved families and prayed for peace to the departed souls. He has wished speedy recovery to the persons injured in this accident.
The Raj Bhavan spokesperson said that the Governor has expressed deep concern over the recurring road accidents and re-iterated that every concerned agency should be held accountable for strictly enforcing regulations regarding overloading, over-speeding, condemnation of unfit vehicles and punitive summary fines to be paid by the offenders. He noted that no unqualified and unlicensed person should be allowed to drive any personal, transport or commercial vehicle.
Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti has also expressed shock and grief over the loss of lives in the accident. She has also sympathized with those injured in the accident and directed the Ramban district administration to provide all support to them in their treatment.