Two brothers among 4 killed, 9 injured in Doda as overloaded SUV plunges into gorge

An injured being shifted to Jammu from District Hospital Doda. -Excelsior Photo
An injured being shifted to Jammu from District Hospital Doda. -Excelsior Photo

Overloading, negligent driving lead to tragedy

Non-functional ultra-sound machine leads to referral

Ajay Raina
JAMMU, May 31: In yet another tragic accident in the hilly terrain, four persons including two brothers were killed while nine others sustained injuries when an overloaded Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), they were traveling in, skidded off the road and plunged into deep gorge near Khellani area of Doda district late last night.

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The ill-fated vehicle bearing registration number JK02AN-8168 was on its way to Bhalla in district Doda from Batote area of district Ramban when it fell into deep gorge near Khellani as the driver failed to negotiate sharp curve due to overloading and rash driving.
Three persons died on the spot while 10 others sustained grievous injuries. The deceased and the injured persons were returning home after attending annual congregation in Batote area of district Ramban.
On getting information, police team rushed to the spot and started rescue operation with the help of locals. However, it took long time to bring the occupants of the ill-fated vehicle from the gorge in view of darkness.
After hectic efforts, all the injured persons were retrieved from the gorge and shifted to District Hospital Doda in police and other vehicles. One injured person failed to respond to the treatment and succumbed to injuries taking the death toll to 4.
SSP Doda Mohammad Shabir Malik supervised the rescue operation.
Later, five injured persons were referred to Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) Jammu for advanced treatment.
The deceased have been identified as Badal Kumar (10) and Akshay Kumar (9), sons of Bhushan Kumar, 25-year-old Ashwani Kumar (driver), son of Madan Lal and Chinku Ram (30), son of Shankar Lal, all residents of Kumari Bhalla.
The injured have been identified as Raj Kumar (30), son of Shish Ram, Baby (4), son of Bhushan Kumar, Utma Devi (35), wife of Bhushan Kumar, Bhushan Kumar (38), son of Bansi Lal, Minto Kumar (28), son of Shiv Lal, Suresh Kumar (25), son of Bhagat Ram and Shital Devi (12), daughter of Bhushan Kumar, all residents of Kumari Bhalla, Arti Devi (22) and Soni Devi (25), daughters of Anar Chand, residents of Paryote.
After completing medical and legal formalities, the bodies of the deceased were handed over to legal heirs today.
A case under relevant provisions of RPC has been registered at Doda Police Station and investigation started to ascertain the exact reason behind the accident.
As per sources, the reason of shifting of patients to GMCH Jammu was non-functional of ultra sound machine in the District Hosptial Doda.
The attendants of the injured persons also expressed anguish over non-functional of ultra sound machine and that too in the district hospital. They also flayed the hospital and district administration for their casual approach to maintain the machines in the district hospital.
“If anything untoward episode happened to our patients, we will not spare anyone”, the attendants warned while shifting their patients to Jammu for just getting their ultra sound done.
The vehicle was carrying several passengers beyond its seating capacity of 7 persons including driver, which clearly established that there is no let up in overloading of passenger vehicles particularly in the hilly areas.
“The violation of Traffic and Motor Vehicle Rules is going on unabated despite repeated instructions from top level in the administration about devising mechanism to check the menace”, official sources said, adding “today’s accident has clearly established that concerned authorities have yet not woken up from the deep slumber and are acting as mute spectator to one after another tragedy on the hilly roads”.