Dhubri, Oct. 15: Police have launched a manhunt to arrest the driver whose carelessness is said to have led to Sunday nights accident near Bilasipara on National Highway 31, which claimed 23 lives and injured over 40 persons.
Official sources said that alarmed by the rising bus mishaps on national highways, the govern- ment was mulling stricter penalty for rash driving and overloading.
A meeting between the transport officials and district administration will be held soon. We also want to bring the owners of the vehicles under the purview of the new measures, a source said.
Police today claimed to have traced the owner of the 709 bus for establishing the identity of the driver, who fled the scene immediately after the accident.
They said that they were also looking for the labour contractor who had packed the 67 people into the bus.
Dhubri additional superintendent of police Omar Ali said a joint police team of Golokganj and Bilasipara are investigating the mishap.
We have come to know that both the driver and the labour contractor, Panaullah Sheikh, are absconding. But we will book both of them soon, Ali added.
Dhubri district transport officer Gunadhar Das said that the official road permit was only upto Barpeta district but the owner, in connivance with the driver, had reserved the bus beyond the limit and that, too, with double the number of passengers than what the vehicle could accommodate.
He said the owner of the bus was identified as Sibu Chanda of Golokganj.
Dhubri deputy commissioner Jatindra Lahkar has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident.