In a major accident, 12 people – including 10 passengers, the driver and a conductor – were killed after a Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation’s (MSRTC) bus plunged into Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh. The bus was headed for Pune from Indore. MSRTC officials rejected reports of brake failure of the 10-year-old vehicle and said that the driver lost control after trying to save a motorcyclist who came in front.
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has announced financial assistance of Rs 10 lakh each to the kin of victims. Prime Minister Modi has also announced ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the kin of deceased and Rs 50,000 to those injured. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also condoled the deaths.
Of the 10 victims, five were from Maharashtra and five from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The driver, Chandrakant Eknath Patil, 45, and conductor Prakash Shravan Chaudhary, 40, were both from Amalner in Jalgaon.
MSRTC has denied media reports that the bus was carrying 40-50 passengers and reiterated that there were only 10 passengers. The bus was registered with the Nagpur Rural Regional Transport Office on June 12, 2012, and its certificate indicates it was roadworthy only until July 27, 2022. The vehicle’s Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificate and insurance were, meanwhile, valid.
The bus skidded off a slippery road and fell into the river after breaking the railing off a bridge in Khalghat area of Madhya Pradesh’s Dhar district on the Agra-Mumbai Highway. It had left Indore city around 7.30 am on Monday and was headed for Amalner.
The MSRTC has claimed that the bus had undergone regular maintenance and was in technically sound condition. Officials said the bus driver was well trained with a clean record.
As per the corporation, it made arrangements for transporting the bodies and handing them over to families after they were recovered. Former BJP minister Girish Mahajan left for Indore to assist the local administration.
MSRTC vice chairman and managing director Shekhar Channe has appointed a three-member committee comprising deputy general manager Nitin Maind, deputy chief security and vigilance officer Somnath Tikotkar and regional engineer Uday Patil to hold an inquiry into the accident and submit a report within 48 hours.