Kullu bus tragedy: 3 days on, 16 Bathinda residents still missing

  • Sachin Sharma, Hindustan Times, Bathinda
  • Updated: Jul 27, 2015 14:21 IST
Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal with the families of the Kullu bus accident victims in Bathinda on Sunday. (Sanjeev Kumar/HT)

Every passing day is adding to the grief of family members of the pilgrims missing after the tragic bus accident in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh on Thursday last week.

Three days after the accident, the villages of the victims are in an eerie silence even as people in large numbers are paying visits there.

The shock of the tragedy could be seen at every nook and corner of the villages with griefstricken residents. The tragedy lies in the fact that residents are now praying for the arrival of bodies instead of their life as they know the fate their kin might have met with.

Meanwhile, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and Union food processing industries minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal visited the affected families.

President of the People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) Manpreet Singh Badal also visited the families. Jand Singh from Jaga Ram Tirath village, who was with the village team in Kullu, has come back.

He said, “The Kullu district administration has said that the level of water in the river is increasing, leading to hindrance in search operation.”

With no information about his missing uncle Gurjant Singh yet, Gurprem Singh left for Kullu on Sunday evening. “The last three days have been like a nightmare for us. We are waiting against all odds. Though people are there but for our own satisfaction I, with some other people, am leaving for Kullu,” he said.

Major Singh, sarpanch of the Lelewala village, said, “The whole village is at a standstill after the mishap. Now, we are praying for their bodies to be recovered, which might provide some solace.”

Meanwhile, Kullu SDM Rohit Rathore said that the administration had to conduct search operation with underwater cameras on Sunday but due to heavy rain in the region on Saturday night the visibility in water was very poor hitting the operation.

As many as seven persons have died from Bathinda district in the mishap while 16 are missing.

Overloading to be probed: Sukhbir

Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who along with union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, visited the affected families in Lelewala, Jaga Ram Tirath and Mehraj villages, said that he had asked the deputy commissioner concerned to inquire into how the bus meant for ferrying 52 passengers was carrying 67 passengers and will also check if the permission was taken for the pilgrimage tour.

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