An overcrowded bus lost control in Madhya Pradesh’s Sidhi district on Tuesday and fell into a canal. Bodies of 47 victims of the tragedy have been recovered so far. Rescue and relief efforts are still on.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced monetary assistance of Rs 5 lakh for the family members of the deceased.
Reports suggest that 54 people were travelling in the bus headed from Sidhi to Satna. Around 7.30 am, it lost control and fell into the canal of the Bansagar Dam.
Since the water levels in the canal were high, the bus was immediately submerged.
Sidhi’s Superintendent of Police Pankaj Kumawat said relief and rescue operations are still on. Forty seven bodies have been recovered so far and seven people managed to swim their way to safety.
Sources say a magisterial probe has been ordered into the mishap. Most of the victims are believed to be young and many of them were going to appear for an exam.
The chief minister dispatched State Water Resources Minister Tulsiram Silawat and MOS for Panchyat Ramkhelawan Patel to the site of the accident. Both the ministers met the families of the victims and offered condolences.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan expressed grief over the tragedy and said: “The mishap has made me extremely sad. My heart is really disturbed. Seven people have been rescued and relief efforts are on even as bodies are being taken out of the canal.”
Former CM Kamal Nath has also expressed grief over the incident. “The news about the bus going from Sidhi to Satna falling into a canal has come to light. I request the government to immediately start rescue efforts and make attempts to rescue those in the bus. Families of the victims must be helped in every way possible.”
BJP MLA Shardendu Tiwari told IANS that State Disaster Response Force personnel and government officials were involved in the operation to retrieve the bus from the canal and look for survivors, if any.
Tiwari said that the bus fell into the main canal emerging from Bansagar Dam that is around 30 feet deep.
“The bus is completely submerged. It is heart-breaking. The water supply from Bansagar Dam has been stopped, due to which the water level has receded. It will help in search operations. Seven persons have been rescued so far. More equipment, including cranes, has been rushed to the spot for rescue and relief measures.”
Sources say the death toll could be higher than 47 because the bus has entirely submerged in the canal. More than 50 people were travelling in the bus that has a capacity of 32 passengers.
Reports say the bus left the main road and took a diversion since there was a traffic jam on the main road. While travelling on a narrow road, near the Bansagar Dam, it lost control and fell into the canal.