RAMBAN, Feb 23: Four persons including son of a former Deputy Speaker Legislative Assembly were killed and nine others received serious injuries, when a Tata Sumo, they were traveling in, skidded off the road and plunged into Shalgarh nallah on Ukhral-Pogal link road, here today.
The ill-fated vehicle bearing registration number JK19-1051 was on its way to Ramban from Maligam when the driver lost control over the vehicle due to the dilapidated condition of Ukhral-Pogal link road as a result of which the vehicle plunged into deep gorge.
On getting information about the accident, a police team immediately swung into action and started rescue operation with the help of locals. After hectic efforts, the rescue teams managed to reach the bottom of the gorge and found three persons dead. All the 10 injured persons were immediately brought out of the gorge and rushed to District Hospital Ramban in different vehicles.
Later, all the injured passengers were referred to Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) Jammu, while one of the injured passengers succumbed to his injuries on the way to Jammu hospital as a result of which the toll rose to four.
However, one of the ambulance carrying injured persons was stopped from passing through newly constructed Chenani-Nashri tunnel, which evoked strong protest from the people, who blocked the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway at T Morh Ramban and Ramsoo Magarkote.
Amidst slogans against district administration Ramban and Health Minister, the protestors alleged that no specialized doctors are available in the District Hospital Ramban due to which the injured persons are either being shifted to hospitals in Srinagar or in Jammu.
The protestors alleged that no chopper service was provided to the injured persons for shifting them to GMCH Jammu due to which one of them died on way to hospital.
“Had the administration arranged chopper for shifting of the injured persons to Jammu, life of one of them could have been saved”, they added.
The people said that despite being aware of the fact that the Ukhral-Pogal link road is in dilapidated condition since long, no steps have been taken to black-top this link road. “Had such an exercise been carried out the loss of lives in this and numerous other accidents could have been avoided”, they said.
After getting information about the protests, ACR Vivek Puri rushed to the spot and tried to pacify the protestors but failed to do. Later, Deputy Commissioner Ramban Mohammad Aijaz visited the protesting site and assured the protestors that their genuine demands will be taken up with the concerned quarters for early redressal.
The deceased have been identified as Muzamil, son of Abdul Latief, Abdul Rashid, son of Mohammad Ibrahim, Javed Ahmed, son of Ghulam Nabi and Farooq Ahmed (Forest Ranger), son of Moulvi Abdul Rashid (Ex-MLA Banihal and former Deputy Speaker, J&K Legislative Assembly), all residents of Maligam.
The injured have been identified as Mohammad Yasir, son of Mohammad Tariq Ganai, Jameela Begum, wife of Farooq Ahmed, Mohammad Rafiq, son of Ghulam Nabi, Bashir Ahmed, Farooq Ahmed, son of Abdul Majid, Shahzad Feroz, son of Farooq Ahmed, Mohammad Hanief, son of Noor Ahmed, Mushtaq Ahmed, son of Mohammad Ismail and Sajad, son of Javed Ahmed, all residents of Maligam.
The accident has also established that there is no check on overloading of the vehicles. According to the eyewitnesses, the vehicle was packed over its capacity. “Overloading of passenger vehicles is a routine phenomenon in all the hilly belts especially on Ukhral-Pogal link road and Traffic Department has failed to keep check over it”, people said.