Eight persons, mostly school children, were killed and 33 others sustained injuries when a bus met with an accident between between Noney district and Bishnupur district in Manipur on December 21.
A bus carrying students of Thambalnu Higher Secondary School, Imphal slid down a gorge and was completely overturned.
Three among those injured were critical.
Most of the injured were treated at Bishnupur district hospital and some of them will be referred to Imphal.
The accident occurred around 10 am on December 21. The exact cause of the accident is to be ascertained.
Reports said that the bus was carrying 47 persons, including students and staff of Thambalnu Higher Secondary School, Yairipok Top Chingtha, Thoubal district of Manipur for an annual study tour to Khoupum in Noney district.
Reports said that 5 students died on the spot and two succumbed to injuries on the way to hospitals in Imphal.
Meanwhile, Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh expressed his deep condolence over the demise of the persons, including students, a warden and a teacher, at the unfortunate road accident.
The chief minister was briefing the media persons at the chief minister’s secretariat in Imphal on December 21 evening regarding the unfortunate incident.
Biren Singh said that the bus, which met the accident, was carrying 47 persons, including students and staff of Thambalnu Higher Secondary School, Yairipok Top Chingtha for an annual study tour to Khoupum.
He informed that the state government, after discussion among cabinet ministers, had taken a decision to provide ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the family of the deceased persons. Financial assistance of Rs 1 lakh and Rs 50,000 will be provided to the seriously injured and those with minor injury respectively, he added. The chief minister continued that the state government had also taken the decision to bear the expenses of treatment of the injured persons being admitted at different hospitals.
Appreciating the swift response of villagers near the accident site to rescue the victims, the Manipur chief minister stated the government had been able to initiate rescue action timely as the villagers had uploaded about the incident on social media in no time. He also informed that the injured persons were brought to the Bishnupur district hospital at first, after which they were brought to hospitals in Imphal including Raj Medicity, Regional Institute of Medical Sciences and Advanced Hospital.
To avoid such incidents in future, Biren Singh cautioned the public to take utmost care while driving along hill areas, as the visibility becomes lower during the winter season due to foggy weather.
Appealing the schools to avoid study tour or excursion during winter season, specially on December and January, he informed that the Manipur education department has on December 21 issued an order directing all the principals/headmasters/ headmistresses of all government/government aided/private unaided schools in the state not to organise school excursions till January 10, 2023 to avoid any untoward incidents.
The chief minister also urged all the drivers of passenger vehicles plying in the state not to drive beyond the speed limit, adding that passenger vehicles could be seen driving at high speed to get passengers. Speaking on many school vans carrying students beyond capacity, he informed that verification will be initiated to check such school vans and action will be taken up against those drivers carrying students beyond capacity like cancelling of driving licence. Action will also be taken up against those schools where such van drivers are transporting students, he added.
Stressing the need to provide awareness on rules on driving passenger vehicles to avoid any untoward incident, he informed that the transport department will organise a conference of all drivers of the state, to make them aware about dos and don’ts of driving.
Concluding his briefing, the Manipur chief minister expressed his deepest condolences and shared grief with the bereaved family and further appealed to the public to follow traffic rules while driving, to avoid road accidents.