HUBBALLI: A bus carrying schoolchildren on a trip to Hampi hit a stone mantapa in an attempt to cross under it. The incident took place on the road to the Vijaya Vittala temple complex.
There was a barrier in front of the structure known as the Hare Shankar mantapa but it was removed recently before Republic Day for repairs. The bus driver could not judge the height of the mantapa and brushed it.
"Soon after the bus hit the mantapa, the driver stopped and reversed the vehicle. The structure suffered some minor damage and the security guards asked the driver to return along the same road. As the bus was carrying schoolchildren on a trip, we decided not to book any case and sent the driver away with a warning. We are checking why there was a security lapse when the bus was allowed to pass," said an official from the Hampi Management Authority.
A team from the ASI visited the stone mantapa and took stock of the situation. 'The damage is minor and will soon be rectified. A metal barrier will be erected before the mantapa so that heavy vehicles do not move under it. As the bus driver immediately reversed the vehicle, the damage was minimal," added the official.
The official also pointed out that the numbers of tourists visiting Hampi has increased in the last few weeks. "Before the pandemic and lockdown, close to 4,000 tourists used to visit Hampi and its surroundings during the weekends. Now the numbers are touching close to 3,000 in the last few weeks. We are also planning to increase the security staff at some points to ensure that vehicles not authorized to move in some areas are not allowed," the official noted.