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36 feared dead, 22 injured as passenger bus falls into gorge in Doda

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A passenger bus accident near village Trungal Assar in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir where at least 36 persons were feared dead and several injured on Tuesday, November 14, 2023. Photo: Bharat Verna on X (Formerly Twitter)

JAMMU: At least 37 persons were feared dead and 22 others injured when a passenger bus skidded off the road and fell into a 300-feet deep gorge near village Trungal Assar in Doda district, 135 kilometers from Jammu in Jammu & Kashmir on Tuesday morning.

Local news gathering agencies quoting officials said that 33 fatalities were confirmed by Tuesday Noon, November 14, 2023. The bus carrying more than 50 passengers was on its way from Kishtwar to Jammu when it met with an accident.

Soon after the accident, some local people and the government officials started the rescue operations and shifted the dead and the injured to the nearby hospitals. Some of the injured are reported to have succumbed their injuries on their way to the hospitals.

The Doda district authorities pressed into service helicopters for shifting some of the injured to Jammu when the report of the accident was received.

An official told the news agency KNO that the bus skidded off the road and fell into a deep gorge in Assar area Tuesday morning. He said that soon after the incident rescue team rushed to the spot.

“36 people have died in this tragic incident so far, while 19 have been injured. Critically injured people have been airlifted to Jammu for treatment,” the official said.

J&K govt announces Rs 5 Lakh ex-gratia

The J&K government on Wednesday announced Rs 5 Lakh each to the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to the unfortunate bus accident in Doda district.
“An ex-gratia of Rs. 5 Lakh each would be given to the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to the unfortunate bus accident in Assar, Doda,” Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha announced on X (Formerly Twitter).

PM announces Rs 2 lakh relief to family of each deceased

PM Modi while expressing grief over the tragic accident, announced Rs 2 lakh each as relief to family members of the deceased.
“The bus accident in Doda, Jammu and Kashmir is distressing. My condolences to the families who have lost their near and dear ones. I pray that the injured recover at the earliest. An ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh from PMNRF would be given to the next of kin of each deceased. Rs. 50,000 would be given to the injured,” PMO India said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).
Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha also expressed grief over the loss of lives in the accident.

Home Minister Amit Shah expressed his condolences and in a statement said that the local administration is actively engaged in the rescue operation at the site of the accident. The mishap took place as the bus with 55 passengers, which was on its way from Kishtwar to Jammu veered off the road and rolled down the steep slope near Trungal in the Assar area on the highway.

“Saddened to share the update from DC Doda Harvinder Singh from the spot of the accident. Unfortunately, 36 persons have died and 19 injured, out of whom 6 injured are serious,” Minister Singh posted on X.

The Union Minister said that he had spoken to the Doda District Commissioner, Harvinder Singh and that the injured are being shifted to Government Medical College Doda. Singh said, “Helicopter service to be arranged for shifting the more injured ones. All possible help, as required being provided. I am in constant touch”. Lt Governor Manoj Sinha expressed deep sorrow over the loss of lives.

“Extremely pained by the loss of lives in a tragic bus accident in Assar, Doda. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families & wishing for a speedy recovery of those injured in the accident. Directed Div Com & Dist Admin to provide all necessary assistance to affected persons,” Sinha tweeted. Jammu and Kashmir Bus Accident: 30 Feared Dead as Passenger Bus Falls Into Gorge in Doda, Major Rescue Operation Underway.

Farooq, Omar Abdullah condole loss of lives in tragic Doda bus accident

The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference Party President and Member of the Parliament from Srinagar Dr. Farooq Abdullah and Vice President Omar Abdullah have expressed profound anguish over the death of 36 persons & injuries to 19 others in a tragic road mishap on the Batote-Kishtwar national highway.

In his condolence message, Dr. Farooq said, “The news of the loss of lives & injuries to many others is heart wrenching. My condolences to the families who have lost their near and dear ones. I pray that the injured recover at the earliest.”

Expressing anguish over the incident, Omar said, “Deeply saddened to hear of this tragic accident that has claimed 36 precious lives. Sadly, for all the talk of progress & development we are not able to stop the steady stream of accidents, often with an unacceptably high death toll. My heart goes out to the families of those who have died & prayers for those injured.

Among others Party General Secretary Haji Ali Muhammad Sagar, Addl General Secretary Dr. Sheikh Mustafa Kamal, Treasurer Shammi Oberoi, Provincial President Nasir Aslam Wani Sogami, Chief Spokesperson Tanvir Sadiq, Political Advisor to President Mushtaq Guroo, Political Advisor to VP Mudassar Shahmiri, PP Jammu Rattan Lal Gupta, Senior leaders Sajjad Ahmad Kichloo, Khalid Najeeb Suharwardy, District President Ramban Sajad Shaheen, YNC Provincial President, Jammu Ajaz Jan, Sheikh Bashir Ahmad, Women’s wing president Jammu Satwant Kour Dogra have also expressed profound grief over the tragic accident. 

The leaders have prayed for peace to the departed & fortitude to the bereaved families. They also impressed upon the government to provide the best medical treatment to the injured.

The former chief minister and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti and other party leaders expressed their deep shock over the death of passengers in the Doda accident. They jointly conveyed their condolences to the bereaved families and wished speedy recovery of the injured.

The senior CPIM leader M Y Tarigami also expressed his shock and grief over loss of precious lives of the passengers in the Doda accident. He conveyed his condolences to the bereaved families and wished speedy recovery of the injured passengers.

J&K Pradesh Congress Committee has expressed deep shock over the loss of several precious lives and injuries to several others in a tragic road accident at Assar near Doda and expressed sympathies with the bereaved families.

Expressing grave shock over loss of 38 passengers and injuries to several others in Assar area of Doda today, JKPCC President Vikar Rasool Wani has said that such a huge loss of lives is very painful and shocking. He conveyed deep sympathies with the bereaved families and prayed for early recovery of the injured. 

JKPCC Chief had demanded that the cause of accident should be investigated and necessary measures should be taken to prevent maximum number of accidents in the area.

He demanded adequate ex-gratia relief to the families of the deceased and the injured besides best medical treatment to them. 

Several senior leaders of the Congress party have expressed shock over the incident and expressed sympathies with the bereaved families and the injured. They included Working President Raman Bhalla, Senior Vice Presidents Mula Ram, Thakur Balwan Singh and Ravinder Sharma besides Haider Sheikh, Naresh Gupta, Ashok Dogra, Imtiaz Ahmed Khandey, Pyare Lal Shan Sham Lal Bhagat, Nadeem Sharief Niaz, Irshad Sheikh, Sheikh Mujeeb and Javed Lone.

In the wake of the devastating accident near Assar Doda that claimed the lives of more than 40 individuals, Professor Amitabh Mattoo, a distinguished academic and thought leader, has expressed his deep anguish and pain.

Prof. Mattoo, known for his insightful contributions to academia and public discourse, conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the families affected by this tragic incident. He remarked, “The loss of lives in the Assar Doda accident is a profound tragedy that has left our hearts heavy with sorrow. My thoughts and prayers are with the families who have lost their loved ones, and my deepest condolences go out to them during this incredibly challenging time.”

Prof. Mattoo emphasized the need for collective support and solidarity, stating, “It is crucial for us to come together to extend our support to those affected. In times of such immense grief, our unity becomes a source of strength and solace.”  He further said that “We must learn from this unfortunate event and work towards implementing measures that ensure the safety and well-being of our communities,” he added.

Doda-Jammu roads: A death trap for passengers

According to official data from the Jammu and Kashmir Traffic Police, 4278 people died in accidents between 2018 and 2022, with an average of 850 deaths a year. 984 people were killed and 7845 injured in 2018. 996 people were killed and 7532 injured in 2019. 728 people were killed and 5894 injured in 2020. 774 people died in 2021 and 6972 were injured. 805 people were killed and 8372 injured in 2022. 

Jammu district topped the list in 2022 with 1113 accidents, 98 deaths and 1476 injuries. 443 accidents in Kathua district during this period claimed 101 lives. 

As per the data, since 2010, 900 lives were lost in road mishaps on average every year.

Till August, 580 people were killed and 5565 injured in road crashed in 4165 incidents across Jammu and Kashmir, this year. Majority of these accidents (755) happened in Jammu district, resulting in 134 deaths and 900 injuries. Srinagar district followed with 337 accidents in which 43 people were killed. Casualties were the second highest in Samba district with 58 deaths in 308 accidents.