JAMMU: On Sunday afternoon, when a State Road Transport Corporation Bus (SRTC) went down the gorge near Nachilana in Banihal area of Ramban district, resulting in the death of 17 Amarnath pilgrims and serious injuries to 29 others, many believed the accident might have occurred due to the negligence of driver.
But after some time when it was revealed that the driver had lost control over the wheels soon after one of the front tyres burst, the focus was once again shifted towards rickety fleet of the SRTC.
Police officers, who conducted preliminary investigations, feared that an unfit bus was deployed on the Yatra duty to ferry Amarnath pilgrims.
Barring few odd buses, which are deployed for the Yatra duty during the annual pilgrimage, the SRTC generally deploys old fleet to ferry pilgrims. Enthusiastic pilgrims seldom complained about the buses but it is also a fact that the fateful bus that met the accident was not one of the new buses acquired by the SRTC.
To ascertain the truth, the Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) has already ordered an inquiry into the tragic road accident.
“An in-house inquiry committee has been constituted to look into the circumstances that led to this tragic accident involving an SRTC bus carrying the Amarnath Yatris,” Mir Afroz Ahmad, Managing Director SRTC said. He said the inquiry committee has been asked to submit its report within two days.
Meanwhile, after learning about the reason behind the tragic accident, Governor NN Vohra, Chairman of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board also directed B.B. Vyas, Chief Secretary, who was accompanying him, to immediately ensure that no SRTC bus is deployed on long distance duty, particularly across the Banihal, which has not been thoroughly checked and certified fit for operation by a responsible ranking SRTC officer.
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