Six transport officials suspended day after 22 killed in Jammu bus accident

An inquiry into the conduct and performance of the suspended officials will be led by Additional Secretary (Technical) Paramvir Singh, who will submit a report with recommendations within a week.
Police personnel and civilians near the wreckage of the bus which skidded off the road and fell into a gorge at Chowki Choura, in Jammu district, Thursday, May 30, 2024. At least 7 pilgrims were killed and 23 injured in the accident, according to officials.
Police personnel and civilians near the wreckage of the bus which skidded off the road and fell into a gorge at Chowki Choura, in Jammu district, Thursday, May 30, 2024. At least 7 pilgrims were killed and 23 injured in the accident, according to officials. (PTI Photo)

JAMMU: Six transport department officials in Jammu and Kashmir were suspended for alleged dereliction of duty on Friday, a day after 22 people were killed and 64 injured in a bus accident in Jammu district.

The tragic incident occurred on Thursday, when the bus carrying 86 devotees from Haryana's Kurukshetra and heading towards the Shiv Khori shrine in Jammu and Kashmir's Reasi district skidded off the Jammu-Poonch highway and plunged into a 150-foot gorge.

The driver lost control of the vehicle while negotiating a blind curve at the Tungi morh in the Chowki Chora area.

Police personnel and civilians near the wreckage of the bus which skidded off the road and fell into a gorge at Chowki Choura, in Jammu district, Thursday, May 30, 2024. At least 7 pilgrims were killed and 23 injured in the accident, according to officials.
21 killed, more than 40 injured in Jammu & Kashmir bus accident

Transport department Secretary Niraj Kumar ordered the suspensions and a probe after a high-level meeting was chaired by Principal Secretary of the Home department Chandraker Bharti.

"Pending enquiry into the conduct and dereliction of duties, officials posted in the Regional Transport Office in Kathua (Lakhanpur) are placed under suspension with immediate effect and are attached in the office of Transport Commissioner, Jammu," Kumar said in an order.

The suspended officials are Ranjeev Bhasin (motor vehicle inspector), Sumit Magotra (junior assistant) and multi-tasking staff (MTS) members Ashwani Kumar, Aman Kumar, Keshav Singh and Rakesh Kumar.

An inquiry into the conduct and performance of the suspended officials will be led by Additional Secretary (Technical) Paramvir Singh, who will submit a report with recommendations within a week, Kumar said.

The officials have been attached to the transport commissioner's office in Jammu, pending the outcome of the enquiry.

The Jammu district magistrate has already initiated a magisterial inquiry into the incident and the report is expected within seven days.

The district administration is closely monitoring the treatment of those injured in the accident, besides communicating with authorities in the passengers' home regions of Hathras and Aligarh and in Uttar Pradesh.

Deputy Commissioner of Jammu Sachin Kumar said the treatment of the injured is going on at the Government Medical College (GMC) hospital.

The Jammu administration announced on Thursday that it has set up a 24-hour helpline to provide information and assistance to the relatives of the victims.

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each to those injured.

According to some injured passengers, the accident occurred when the driver was negotiating a blind curve and a speeding car was approaching from the opposite direction.

However, some passengers have blamed the driver for overloading the vehicle.

The accident is the deadliest in the region since a similar one on November 15, 2023 in Doda district, where a bus skidded off the road and fell into a 300-foot gorge, killing 39 people and injuring 19.

Police personnel and civilians near the wreckage of the bus which skidded off the road and fell into a gorge at Chowki Choura, in Jammu district, Thursday, May 30, 2024. At least 7 pilgrims were killed and 23 injured in the accident, according to officials.
37 people killed, 19 injured as bus falls into gorge in Jammu and Kashmir's Doda

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