Bus tragedy: Death toll reaches 42 as Mamata orders inspection of ill-fated bridge

30 Jan 2018

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today ordered the inspection of the Balirghat bridge at Daulatabad area of Murshidabad from which a bus that was coming from Karimpur in Nadia and moving to Malda plunged into the Gogra canal yesterday morning.

The death toll in the gruesome tragedy has risen to 42 even as divers of the National Disaster Response Force have kept on their search operations to find out more bodies, if any
Mamata, who visited the site yesterday and supervised rescue operations also directed the district authorities to put up speed restrictions on the road. Survivors allege that the accident was caused because of callousness of the driver who, according to them, was talking over his cell phone while driving. The bus had rammed into the bridge early yesterday and fallen deep into the canal. Eight people are believed to have been injured in the accident.

The chief minister, who had visited the spot soon after the incident and stayed in the town overnight, said the condition of the bridge had to be examined. "An inspection of the condition of the bridge must be conducted. And speed-breakers must be installed in and around the area ... That is really needed," she told newspersons. The state government had announced compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of each of those killed and Rs 1 lakh for those gravely injured. Others injured would get a compensation amount of Rs 50,000. Mamata said the district magistrate had already handed over the compensation to the kin of those killed."We had completed handling over the bodies to their family members by midnight," she said, referring to the 36 bodies that had been pulled out on Monday.

"The DM has already distributed Rs 5 lakh to each family as we had announced," she said. On the possibility of more casualties, she said, "We have to check. They (rescuers) are looking into it." Meanwhile state-controlled transport corporations are going to issue circulars among their staff members banning use of mobile phones by drivers while driving. ``Punishments like imposition of fine and suspension will be awarded to erring drivers,'' Tamonash Ghosh, chairman, South Bengal State Transport Corporation today said. (EOIC)