Sixteen people, half of them children, were electrocuted and 26 others sustained burn injuries when the bus they were travelling in came in contact with a live electricity wire jutting out of a power transformer in Rajasthan’s Tonk on Friday, police said.
The loose wire got entangled in the wheels of the bus which was carrying a wedding party from Sanh village under the Pachewar police station to Lamba Harisingh, around 45 kms away.
Tonk Superintendent of Police Deepak Kumar said 15 people were killed on the spot while one person succumbed to the injuries later. The dead included four boys and an identical number of girls. Eighteen of the injured have been referred to Jaipur’s SMS Hospital while eight, who are out of danger, are at Malpura community health centre (CHC).
“It seems people were killed as they got down from the bus,” he added.
Police said the toll was likely to go up as many of the injured had serious burns.
Chief minister Vasundhara Raje, who is in Delhi, expressed grief over the accident and rushed a team of ministers to the spot to ensure quick relief and to console the bereaved families.
She has announced an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the deceased, Rs 2 lakh each to the critically injured and Rs 50,000 each to the injured. The electricity department will pay the compensation.
Police said bodies were kept in a field as the families were not ready for the postmortem. However, the families agreed to it after the government announced compensation for the injured and promised action against electricity department officials.
The chief minister asked SMS superintendent Dr Man Prakash to take a team of 14 doctors to the village.
Raje also dispatched home minister Gulab Chand Kataria, agriculture minister Prabhu Lal Saini, urban development minister Rajpal Singh Shekhawat, who is also the minister in charge of Tonk district, and power minister Pushpendra Singh to the village, besides some government officials.
Leader of Opposition in Rajasthan Assembly Rameshwar Dudi has also expressed grief over the Tonk incident but has not spared the opportunity to attack the government. “The incident occurred due to negligence by (the) electricity department. Rural electric management is in a shambles,” he said in a statement.
Congress has demanded that a murder case be registered against power department officials responsible for the accident. The party has also demanded a high-level probe into the tragedy besides seeking more compensation and government jobs to one member of the families of the deceased.