Madhya Pradesh: At least 45 dead after bus falls into canal near Satna; magisterial probe ordered, says official

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said he was informed that rescue operations have ended. However, an English newspaper reported that the operations are likely to resume again tomorrow morning

FP Staff February 16, 2021 20:58:08 IST
Madhya Pradesh: At least 45 dead after bus falls into canal near Satna; magisterial probe ordered, says official

Rescue operations in Madhya Pradesh's Sidhi district. ANI

At least 45 are dead after a packed bus veered off the road and fell into a canal near Patna village in Madhya Pradesh's Sidhi district on Tuesday morning.

According to news agency PTI, Rewa Divisional Commissioner Rajesh Jain — under whose jurisdiction the accident took place — said that rescuers have retrieved 45 bodies from the canal so far.

"A total of 45 bodies — 24 of men, 20 women and a child — have been fished out of the Bansagar canal until now," he said, adding a magisterial probe has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident.

According to PTI, Umesh Joga, Inspector General (Rewa) said that at least seven persons swam to safety after the bus landed into the canal near Patna village, around 80 km away from the Sidhi district headquarter, around 8:30 am.

According to The Indian Express, the bus was going from Sidhi to Satna when it fell into the canal in Shardhapathak village. As per the report, Sidhi collector Ravindra Kumar Chowdhary confimed that a four-year-old was among the dead.

According to PTI, eyewitnesses had said that the bus sank completely into the water and was not visible in the morning hours. Later, the water level came down as the district administration stopped the release of water into the canal from the Banganga project.

The bus was then spotted at some distance from the spot where it fell into the water, eyewitnesses said. The bus was retrieved out of the canal with the help of two cranes, officials told the news agency.

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, during a meeting of the state Cabinet later in the day, said that the accident occurred around 7.35 am, when the bus went out of control and fell into the Bansagar linked canal which carries water to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

The chief minister said that as per the information received till then, that the rescue operations have concluded and added that it was extremely unfortunate that 45 persons had lost their lives. The bodies have been recovered, he said that he had directed that all the bodies be sent to their villages with full respect.

The chief minister said that 39 post mortems had been conducted and 34 bodies had been sent to their villages, and added that the rest were being sent.

Chouhan also tweeted that a minute's silence was observed in the meeting of the state cabinet to pray for the souls of the deceased.

As per The Indian Express report, search and rescue operations have been called off for now and are set to resume at 5 am on Wednesday.

Narendra Modi, Shivraj Singh Chouhan announce compensation

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended his condolences to the families of the deceased and approved an ex gratia of Rs two lakh each.

The Prime Ministers' Office tweeted:

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each from Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to the bus accident in Sidhi, Madhya Pradesh. Rs 50,000 would be given to those seriously injured," it said in another tweet.

Chouhan  also condoled the deaths and announced an ex-gratia of Rs five lakh for the families of the deceased.

In series of tweets, the chief minister had said he was in constant touch with those involved in the rescue efforts and all necessary arrangements including hydra cranes, ambulances and doctors had been made.

The entire administration, including the commissioner, IG, SP and SDRF teams are engaged in the rescue work, Chouhan had said in a video message.

"I have also sent Water Resources Minister Tulsiram Silawat and MOS for Panchyat Ramkhelawan Patel to the spot in a state plane," Chouhan had said.

The chief minister had also confirmed that seven people had escaped.

Sate govt cancels house-warming ceremony

The state government had cancelled the 'grih pravesh' or house-warming ceremony to be attended virtually by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in view of the accident.

The cancellation of the event, which was scheduled to start at 11 am at Bhopal's Minto Hall, was announced by the chief minister after he reached the venue.

Shah was scheduled to take part via video conferencing in this programme for the beneficiaries of over one lakh houses constructed in Madhya Pradesh under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).

Expressing his condolences to the families of the deceased, Shah said on Twitter that he had spoken to Chouhan and added that he was sending all possible help to the local administration engaged in the rescue and relief works.

Madhya Pradesh Congress president Kamal Nath also expressed grief over the bus tragedy, reported PTI.

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said he was deeply pained to hear about the tragic bus accident.


With inputs from PTI

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