Twenty four people were killed and 30 others injured in a road accident at Marothi village in Udhampur district, about 140-km from Jammu city, on Monday morning.
The police said an over-loaded bus with about 60 passengers was travelling from Latti to Chenani when it skidded off the turn and fell into about 300-feet deep gorge at Marothi village, after travelling a distance of about 10-km.
The site of the accident is near Mantali, which is proposed to be developed as international yoga centre by the state government.
“The bus was overloaded. On reaching a curve at Marothi, it developed a technical snag after which the driver lost control of the bus and it rolled down in the gorge,” said an injured Ranjit Kumar, undergoing treatment at district hospital, Udhampur.
Six people who were critically injured were shifted to the Government Medical College, Jammu, while others have been admitted at hospitals in Chenani and Udhampur.
MoS finance Pawan Gupta, who is MLA Udhampur, deputy commissioner Udhampur and DIG Udhampur-Ramban range reached the spot in the afternoon.
The locals along with the police and army personnel carried out the rescue operation and also lifted the dead bodies. A hilly area, Latti is about 72-km from Udhampur town and is one of the remote areas of the district. The link road connecting it to the Jammu-Srinagar national highway is narrow and in bad condition. Very few buses ply on this route and it’s for this reason they are generally overloaded.
Hem Raj, sarpanch, Marothi village, blamed the negligence on the part of the authorities for the accident. He said bad road conditions and overloading were the main reasons for the accident. “We have raised these issues with the authorities a number of times.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and MoS PMO Jitendra Singh have expressed grief over the incident.