Mumbai: The bodies of all the 30 victims of Saturday’s bus accident in Maharashtra’s Raigad district were retrieved from a gorge, police said on Sunday. As all the bodies were retrieved, the police called off the rescue operation at Ambenali Ghat near Poladpur town, located around 180 km from here, Kundan Gawde, PRO, Raigad Police, said.
Asked about the death toll, he said, “We have received information from the Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth in Dapoli that only 31 staff members were travelling in the ill-fated bus and not 34 (as reported earlier).” Of the 31 persons, including the driver, only one — Prakash Sawant-Desai — survived the accident as he jumped out of the bus, he added. Gawde said all the victims were identified and the bodies handed over to their family members after completing the formalities.
The victims were staffers of the Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth, located at Dapoli in Ratnagiri district, the police said. They had hired the private bus for a picnic and were headed towards Mahabaleshwar when the tragedy struck at Ambenali Ghat, the police added. The bus skidded off the road and tumbled into the 500-foot-deep gorge, while the driver was negotiating a turn. The police, fire brigade, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams and local trekkers were involved in the operation to pull out the bodies from the accident spot, a senior police official said.
Those involved in the operation came across difficulties in retrieving the bodies as the gorge was over 500 feet deep and located off a slippery road, he added. They had initially managed to trace 14 bodies, but it took nearly six hours to pull out the other bodies because of the difficult terrain, which was surrounded by dense vegetation, the official said.
Raigad tragedy Victims’ kin to get govt jobs
The kin of Raigad bus accident victims will get jobs in the Maharashtra government on compassionate ground, state minister Ravindra Waikar announced on Sunday. The state government has already announced a financial assistance of Rs four lakh to the kin of each deceased person.
“One legal heir from the family of each victim will get a government job. 23 heirs of 30 people who died in the accident would get job, as the deceased were full time staffers. The state government will consider rest seven as the special case and see they will also get some government job,” said Waikar, who is Guardian Minister of Ratnagiri district.
The minister today visited Dapoli to take stock of the situation. Thirty staffers died after the bus they were travelling in fell into a 500-foot deep gorge in Ambenali ghat, which has sharp curves, near Poladpur town in Raigad district yesterday. The minister underlined a need to put up barricades in all the ‘ghat’ sections in the state to avoid recurrence of such accidents. Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena today announced an aid of Rs one lakh to family members of each of the deceased. The announcement was made by Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Sena MP Anant Gite.