Two persons were killed and 13 others injured when a mini-bus overturned and fell into a gorge near Kanjali village in Kapurthala district on Wednesday.
One of the deceased was identified as Dhooda Ram, a resident of Bhawanipur village. The other body is yet to be identified. The mini-bus was carrying 27 passengers. The driver, Gurpreet Singh, was among those injured.
Eyewitnesses said the driver lost control of the mini-bus after he tried to avoid a collision with a tractor-trolley coming from the opposite direction on the Kapurthala-Kanjali road. The mini-bus rolled down a nearly 5-ft-deep gorge.
The vehicle was on its way to Kapurthala from Dhilwan when the mishap occurred.
Sukhwinder Kaur of Jatike village, who is undergoing treatment at the local civil hospital, said, "It happened all of a sudden. Passengers fell on each other and many got injured."
Passersby reached the spot and started rescue work. The injured were rushed to the civil hospital. The bus driver suffered serious injuries and was taken to a Jalandhar-based private hospital by his family members.
Others injured in the accident are Balwinder Kaur, Amandeep Kaur, Lakhwinder Kaur, Gulzar Singh, Sukhwinder Kaur, Rajwinder Kaur, Kulwinder Kaur, Chhinda, Narinderjeet Kaur, Harpinder Kaur, Jarmal Singh and Rupinder Kaur.
Civil surgeon Dr Balbir Singh said, "The condition of the driver and Narinderjeet Kaur is serious but stable. All the others are out of danger."
The police have registered a case against the driver under sections 304-A (causing death by negligence), 334 (voluntarily causing hurt on provocation) and 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life of others) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Kin cry foul
Narinder Singh, a resident of Jatike village, alleged that neither the senior medical officer (SMO) nor the orthopaedician were present at the civil hospital when the injured were brought there.
"It took nearly 50 minutes for both to reach there. Even the civil surgeon was not in the hospital and he did not respond to repeated phone calls," he added.
Deputy commissioner Daljit Singh Mangat, Kapurthala SSP Inderbir Singh and District Planning Committee chairman Sarabjit Singh Makkar were among those who reached the spot.
Health minister Surjit Singh Jyani, when contacted by HT, said, "I have received several calls regarding the absence of civil hospital staff from duty. I have asked the civil surgeon to report on the matter. Action would be taken against those at fault."