At least 29 people were killed and several left critically injured when a Delhi-bound AC sleeper bus of Awadh Depot from Lucknow skid off Yamuna Expressway into a 30 ft deep drain near Etmadpur police station area of Agra on early Monday morning.
The UP Roadways bus, loaded with 46-50 passengers, went off into the drain from the over bridge of the concrete-cement expressway allegedly owing to high speed and dozing off drive leaving around 18 people injured.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath ordered a probe into the bus mishap on now know as killer expressway. He set up a three member probe panel headed by Transport commissioner and comprising Agra divisional commissioner and Agra’s inspector general of police as other two members to investigate the accident.
Besides finding put the reasons for the mishap, the inquiry panel has also been given the mandate to give long term recommendations to avoid such accidents in futre. The apnel has been instructed to give its report to the CM in 24 hours.
Moreover, the transport department also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to next kin of the deceased and Rs 2.5 lakh to those who injured in the accident.
Deputy CM Dinesh Sharma and minister of state for transport with indpendent charge Swatantra Deo Singh were rushed visit the accident site by the CM. The duo met the injured in the hospitals and supervised the rescue and relief operations.
Immediatly after the incident, Agra DM NG Ravi Kumar, SSP Bablu Kumar and Fathepur Sikri MP Rajkumar Chahar were the first ones among officails to reach the spot and rescue operations were underway. All the injured persons were admitted to Krishna hospital in trans-Yamuna area and SN Medical College in Agra.
As per the transport department sources, Awadh Depot's Janrath Expressway Roadways sleeper bus no. UP33 AT5877 had left Lucknow for Anand Vihar bus station in New Delhi. The bus was in high speed and the driver allegedly lost control over the wheels as he dozed off while driving. Consequently, the bus went into the 'jharna nala' at Kuberpur when all the passengers were asleep.
The dead included 27 male passengers and a 2-year-old and a 15-year-old girl. The sources said that the bus got into the drain filled with mud. It got totally mangled due to the impact of height from which it fell into the drain. The roof was ripped off in the middle as it smashed the safety railing and fell on the black waters of the large drain.
According to the district magistrate NG Ravi Kumar, while the bodies were sent for autopsy, the family members of the deceased were being contacted by the Agra administration.
Agra’s SSP Babloo Kumar released a helpline number: 9454402732 for the families of the victims to call and get details of their relatives travelling in the fateful bus.
The residents of adjoining villages heard a loud sound and they rushed to rescue the passengers. “We had taken out at least 18 bodies from the drain when the police reached the spot,” said Nihal Singh, a villager who first reached the spot on hearing the sound of the bus falling down in the drain.
The 165-km Yamuna Expressway with six lanes connecting Delhi with Agra is now turning into a killer highway. Constructed during the last regime of BSP chief Mayawati as CM. It has witnessed total 95 accidents so far from January to June 2019 devouring around 94 persons and leaving 120 injured. PM Narendra Modi led various leaders including Piyush Goel, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari in expressing grief and sending condolences to the bereaved families.
Meanwhile, opposition leaders including ex-Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav also expressed grief over the accident. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav demanded Rs 50 lakh compensation each for the families of those who lost life.