5 killed, 8 injured as Tata Sumo plunges into gorge

Ill-fated vehicle after accident in Doda on Saturday. —Excelsior/Rafi Choudhary
Ill-fated vehicle after accident in Doda on Saturday. —Excelsior/Rafi Choudhary

Govt fails to control overloading in passenger vehicles

Ajay Raina
JAMMU, Sept 22: In another tragic accident, five passengers were killed and 8 others received injuries when an overloaded Tata Sumo they were traveling in plunged into deep gorge near Gangal Soti area on a link road in Gandoh Sub Division of mountainous Doda district this morning.
As per the reports, the ill-fated vehicle bearing registration number JK06-4986 was on its way from Seroo Khala Jugassar to Gowari when the driver failed to negotiate a sharp curve and the vehicle fell into around 300 feet deep gorge near Gangal Soti in Sub Division Gandoh. In the accident, four persons lost their lives on the spot while as nine others sustained critical injuries.
On getting information about the mishap, police contingent rushed to the spot and with the help of locals started rescue operation. SSP Doda Mohammad Shabir Malik also reached the spot to personally supervise the rescue operation.
All the injured persons were brought out of the gorge after hectic efforts and shifted to Sub District Hospital Gandoh and Community Health Centre (CHC) Changa from where they were later referred to District Hospital (DH) Doda. From DH Doda, five injured were referred to Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) Jammu, where one of the injured was declared as brought dead thereby taking the death toll to five in this accident.
The deceased have been identified as Pavitra Devi, wife of Vinod Kumar of Bhatoh, Sapna Devi, wife of Chaman Singh of Seroo, Mubarak Ali, son of Shah Din of Alni, Pushpa Devi, wife of Sukhdev of Seroo and Ashiq Huss-ain, son of Ali Mohammad of Kota Kharangal.
The injured have been identified as Kalasha Devi, wife of Manmohan Singh of Kahal Juga-ssar, Geeta Devi, wife of Chater Singh of Lajoo, Manmohan Singh, son of Om Singh of Kahal Jugassar, Tariq Hussain, son of Shah Mohammad of Kakoo, Amar Singh, son of Jagat Ram of Kahal Jugaassar, Om Devi, wife of Amar Chand of Kahal Jugassar, Sher Mohammad (driver), son of Mehmedoo Mir of Soti and Suran Singh, son of Tak Chand of Seroo Kahal Jugassar.
After completing medical and legal formalities, the bodies of the deceased were handed over to legal heirs.
The vehicle was carrying several passengers beyond its seating capacity, which clearly established that there is no let up in overloading of passenger vehicles and Government has completely failed to control the menace.
It is pertinent to mention here that on September 17 EXCELSIOR had exclusively reported that there was no focus on tackling the menace of overloading in passenger vehicles particularly in hilly and accident prone districts. It was also revealed that Government is operating only 10 SRTC buses in Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban districts, which are grossly inadequate to meet the requirement of the people.
Today’s accident has clearly established that Government has yet not woken up from the deep slumber and is acting as mute spectator to one after another tragedy on the hilly roads.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh has expressed grief over the tragic accident and conveyed his condolence to the bereaved families.
In the tweet, Dr Jitendra Singh said, “Saddened to learn about this accident. Keeping in constant touch with DC Doda Simrandeep Singh. Have offered all the possible help for the treatment and shifting of injured. High time, the State authorities need to come down strictly on the menace of overloading”.
Senior National Conference leader and Chairman Public Grievance and Redressal Office Iqbal Wani has expressed grief and shock over the death of 5 persons and injuries to 8 others in today’s accident. He appealed to the Governor and Transport Commissioner to look into the reasons behind the accidents in the Chenab Valley.