25 killed as bus falls into gorge: A look at road tragedies in Uttarakhand
As many as 25 people died in yet another accident in Uttarakhand’s Pauri Garhwal district on Tuesday. The recent mishap has thrown light on the lack of road safety in the state
Roads of Uttarakhand are proving to be more and more fatal. On Tuesday, at least 25 people were killed after a bus carrying 40 to 45 people fell into a 500-metre gorge near Simdi village in Birokhal area of Dhumakot in Pauri Garhwal district.
The bus was travelling from Laldhang in Haridwar district to Pauri district’s Birkhal block. According to several media reports, the passengers were heading to a wedding ceremony in Pauri.
District General of Police (DGP) Ashok Kumar said, “Police and SDRF teams rescued 21 people overnight. The injured have been admitted to nearby hospitals.”
According to a report by India Today, officials from Dhumkot police station rushed to the scene soon after the incident was reported. Pushkar Singh Dhami, Chief Minister of Uttarakhand got in touch with the State Disaster Management Centre and asked them to constantly monitor the situation.
“State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) teams mobilised for the accident spot. We are trying our best to rescue the passengers. Residents of the village are helping in the rescue operation,” Dhami said.
However, this is not the only time that roads of the hilly state have seen a fatal road accident. Let’s take a closer look at the worst road accidents in Uttarakhand.
Tehri, Pauri and Dehradun
Last month, seven people, four of whom were from Maharashtra died after their vehicles fell into gorges in separate road accidents in the state of Uttarakhand.
According to a report by PTI, the four pilgrims from Maharashtra were in a car that was travelling from Haridwar to the Badrinath temple when their vehicle fell into a 50-metre-deep gorge near Shree Ram Tapasthalia Ashram in Tehri. The car was also carrying three others who were left injured.
Haridwar and Roorkee
In July, as many as 10 kanwarias from Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh were killed in separate road accidents in Haridwar and Roorkee.
According to a report by Times of India, the first incident happened in Haridwar’s Bairagi camp when a truck carrying kanwarias ran over two other pilgrims who were asleep on the ground.
A second accident took place near Prem Nagar Ashram Bridge in Haridwar where two bikes collided, killing three kanwarias from Uttar Pradesh.
Three other pilgrims from Delhi also died in the same month in Roorkee.
This year, on 5 June, a bus carrying around 28 pilgrims from Madhya Pradesh’s Panna district fell into a deep gorge Rikhavu Khadd. The bus was on its way to the Yamunotri temple in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand, according to a report by The Hindu.
Out of the total number of 28 passengers, excluding the driver and the helper, 26 were reported dead.
Both Pushkar Singh Dhami and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan visited the accident site while the latter said that the bodies of the accident victims were to be brought back to Madhya Pradesh via an Indian Air Force aircraft.
In February 2022, as many as 14 people died after their vehicle fell into a gorge near Sukhidhang Reetha Sahib Road in the Champawat district of Uttarakhand.
The group was returning after attending a wedding, said Kumaon Deputy Inspector General Nilesh Anand Bharne.
According to India Today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences to the victims on Twitter. He said, “The accident in Champawat, Uttarakhand is heart-wrenching. I express my condolences to the families of those who have died in this accident. Local administration is engaged in relief and rescue work.”
Last year in October, following an accident that involved a utility vehicle that fell into a ditch injured in Uttarakhand’s Chakrata, 13 people were killed and four others were left injured.
According to a report by ANI, the accident took place on the Bulhad-Baila Road and the State Disaster Management unit of Chakrata reached the spot soon after the accident was reported.
Why are roads in Uttrakhand so accident-prone?
As per a report on Garhwal Post, Director General of Police Ashok Kumar blamed increasing traffic pressure on the roads to be the major culprit behind fatal road accidents in the hilly state. While the number of vehicles has increased over the years, the number of roads has not seen an uptick.
Apart from this, he also cited drinking and driving, speeding and overloading as major reasons behind road accidents.
Till May this year, the state witnessed as many as 659 road accidents, according to Hindustan Times. As compared to last year, this number is 14.61 per cent more than last year.
With inputs from agencies
Weather conditions such as heavy fog, rain or snow, or the loss of control by a driver because of over-speeding and the inability to follow traffic rules often lead to vehicle pile-ups. On the Pune-Bengaluru highway, a brake failure caused the 48-vehicle accident, which left at least 30 injured
The risk of dying in a road accident is 3 times higher in low-income countries than in high-income countries
Pune bridge pile-up accident caused by truck hitting multiple vehicles after driver switched off engine on slope: Police
At least 24 vehicles were damaged late Sunday evening after the truck lost control on the downward slope of Navale bridge on the Mumbai-Bengaluru highway in Pune