Shillong/Agartala, Nov. 11: A Tripura-bound bus carrying pilgrims travelling at high speed overturned, killing four passengers and injuring 30 others at Mendihati, 7km from Khleihriat in the Jaintia Hills, today.
Sixty-eight-year-old Rohit Das Muhuri and three women — Jayamaya Paul, 58, Kalpana Biswas, 60, and Subha Nandi, 70, all from Tripura, died in the mishap. Police found it difficult to extricate Muhuri’s body, as it was crushed inside the bus.
The 30 injured passengers have been shifted to Khleihriat health centre, police said.
According to the police, the bus (AS01 Q6077), which was coming from Assam, overturned on the roadside at Mendihati around 5.30am.
A senior police official said the driver lost control of the bus when it reached Mendihati, resulting in the tragedy.
A three-member team, headed by district transport officer of North Tripura Bikash Deb, have already rushed to the spot to provide assistance to the injured passengers as well as to send the bodies to Tripura after post-mortem.
Secretary of Tripura Motor Shramik Union Saumitra Chakraborty said a group of 50 people from Barpathuri area under South Tripura’s Belonia subdivision had gone on a pilgrimage to various places in north India in October. While returning, the pilgrims detrained at Guwahati and hired the bus, owned by one Sunil Das, to Barpathuri.
“The bus was overloaded and when it reached the location between Mandihati and Shillong it skidded off the road and rolled into a gorge,” said Chakraborty. As a result, four persons including three women died on the spot.
“The injured persons are yet to be identified but we are awaiting details from our members who ply vehicles on the Guwahati-Agartala national highway but an official team from Dharmanagar have also left for the spot,” said Chakraborty.
Tripura chief secretary S.K. Panda spoke to his Meghalaya counterpart this morning seeking the Meghalaya administration’s help for the injured patients as well as for sending the bodies back to Agartala.
“The Meghalaya government will give all help, I have been assured of this,” said Panda.
He said the national highway connecting Agartala and Guwahati should be repaired and many parts within Meghalaya need to be developed.
There have been a series of tragedies in the past mostly involving night running buses in parts of Jaintia Hills because of the carelessness of drivers and poor road conditions. As Jaintia Hills is the main corridor to many neighbouring northeastern states, people from Assam, Mizoram and Tripura depend on the highway.
Moreover, a large number of coal-laden trucks also ply along the route, damaging the road.
The biggest tragedy this year was the death of seven persons in July in a road accident in Sonapur in Jaintia Hills after a jeep they were travelling in fell into a gorge.