6 killed, 28 injured as overloaded minibus rolls down

Locals and police conducting rescue operation at site of accident on Saturday.
Locals and police conducting rescue operation at site of accident on Saturday.

Nishikant Khajuria
JAMMU, Jan 6: Overloading once again caused a major tragedy and snatched lives of six persons besides leaving 28 others injured as a 16-seater minibus, packed with 34 passengers, rolled down into a deep gorge at Kogha near Ramnagar in Udhampur district today.
Four persons died on the spot and two others succumbed to their injuries while being shifted to hospital.  The injured, including five children and 10 women, were admitted in District Hospital Udhampur where three of them were referred to GMC Hospital Jammu and three others to Military Hospital Udhampur in view of their critical condition.
The accident took place around 1.30 pm when the minibus JK14-0273, which was on way from Udhampur to village Barota near Ramnagar, plunged into deep gorge adjoining Pinger Mata Bridge at Kogha.

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The minibus, which was packed more than two times of its capacity, lost control after apparently developing some   technical snag because of overloading and plunged into deep gorge.  The vehicle somersaulted several times and hit the boulders in more than 300- meter deep gorge thus causing death of four passengers on the spot and critical injuries to 30 others, one of whom succumbed to wounds while on way to hospital and another at District Hospital Udhampur.
Locals and police rushed to the spot and launched rescue operation. The injured were shifted to CHC Ramnagar and then taken to Udhampur District Hospital where doctors referred three of them to GMC Hospital Jammu and three others to Military Hospital Udham-pur in view of their series condition.
One of the injured succumbed to injuries while being shifted to Hospital while another, namely Nisha Devi (20), wife of Yash Paul of Bughtyan, breathed her last at District Hospital Udhampur.
Other deceased were identified as Ravinder Singh (21), son of Sandokh Singh of Kagote, Mangat Ram (60), son of Seentu of Bhatyari, Payal Devi (16), daughter of Mulkh Raj of Kheen, Keshi Devi (70) wife of Paras Ram of Kheen and Neetu Devi (30), wife of Pritam of Nagrota Udhampur.
The injured were  identified as Raj Kumar (22),  son of Ashok Kumar of Kagoot, Yash Pal (30),  son of Glabo Ram of Kat Pardi, Rakesh Kumar (17),  son of Parkash of God Mash, Dhara Singh (35) son of Jameet Singh of Balsta, Pankaj (15), son of Parkash Chand of Kagote, Ajeet Kumar (15) son of Naseeb Chand of Kagote, Mangat Ram (68) son of Bhag Mal of Kagote ( Referred to MH), Toshi Devi (21) daughter of Suram Chand of Patyadi, Sadiq (37) son of Mansh of Kalwanta, Makhna Devi (35) wife of Romesh Singh of Bughtyan, Seema Devi (28) wife of Vakil Singh of Ritti, Mehak Devi (10) daughter of  Uttam Singh of Sundrani, Seema (22) daughter of Sato Ram of Kathil, Rekha Devi (24) wife of Dev Raj of Patyari, Ashu Devi (29) wife of Vijay Kumar of Kathil, Sheeta Devi (23) wife of Balbir Singh of Riti, Satya Devi (40) wife of Parkash of Gogad Marh, Chanchala Devi (35) wife of Romesh Kumar of Kagote (referred to MH), Priya (2) daughter of Balbir Singh of Riti, Sunil Singh (17) son of Romesh Singh of Kagote (referred to GMC Jammu), Bhanu Partap Singh (9) son of Suram Singh of Kot Patyari, Sakshi Devi (12) daughter of Uttam Singh of Kagote, Gopal Dass (45) son of Kaka Ram of Kuprella (referred to GMC Jammu), Daleep Kumar (20) son of Romesh of Chunanta (referred to MH), driver of the minibus,  namely Jagdish Kumar (25),  son of Vijay Kumar of Kagote ( referred to GMC Jammu), Surinder Singh (34),  son of Hans Raj of Bhatyan, Subash Singh (40) son of Daleep Singh of Kanah and  Rakesh Kumar (5) son of Pritam, resident of Nagrota Udhampur.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has expressed grief over the death of six passengers in the accident and conveyed her heartfelt sympathies to the bereaved families. She has also directed the divisional administration to ensure all medical facilities to the injured and wished them a speedy recovery.
Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh, who represents Kathua-Udhampur-Doda Parliamentary constituency in the Lok Sabha, also expressed his grief over the death of passengers and stressed that best possible medical facilities must be ensured to the injured. In a statement, he stressed that besides taking stern action against the persons responsible for overloading, mandatory steps must be taken by the concerned departments for effective implementation of the Road Safety Action Plan to avoid such mishaps.
MLA Ramnagar, R S Pathania, after monitoring relief and rescue operations at the site of mishap, personally went to CHC Ramnagar and District Hospital Udhampur for inquiring about the well being of under treatment patients. He also announced Rs one lakh each for   the deceased, Rs 25,000 for seriously injured and Rs 10,000 for other injured. He also demanded immediate implementation of Road Safety Action Plan, which already has been put into action by the State Government but envisages mandatory steps and measures to be taken by PWD, Traffic Police, Motor Vehicles Deptt and other departments acting in a synergized way.
Pertinent to mention that due to lack luster response of the concerned authorities, the Road Safety Action Plan remains a dead letter as on date. Due to laxity on part of the Traffic Police and Motor Vehicle Department, there has been virtual no check on overloading and mechanical fitness of the vehicles thus causing the tragic road mishaps.
Meanwhile, in another road accident in Udhampur, eight persons from neighbouring Himachal Pradesh were injured when a Tata Sumo rolled down near Paldai, Majalta.
The injured were identified as Raj Kumar (29), son of Bhagat Ram of Chamba, Krishna Chand (25) son of Chuni Lal of Chamba, Rakesh Singh (25) son of Beir Singh of Pangi Chamba, Prem Singh (36) son of Bali Ram of Chamba, Ranjeet Singh (31) son of Luxmi Chand (31) of Chamba, Sanjay Singh (19) of Chamba and  Ganesh (49) son of Sukdev of Pangi.
Police rushed to the spot and shifted the injured persons to DH Udhampur where doctors referred them to GMC Hospital Jammu.


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