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The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Vehicle load

Shillong, Aug. 10: The district administration of Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills district has issued orders to police to crack the whip on vehicles found to be overloading, after Wednesday’s bus disaster where 30 people lost their lives.

Speaking to this correspondent over phone, East Jaintia Hills deputy commissioner Abhishek Bhagotia said he has instructed the Lad Rymbai police to conduct checks on vehicles, especially on night super buses, and to take strict action against those that were overloaded.

The order came after 30 people died and 26 were injured when a night super bus, allegedly overloaded, plunged into a deep gorge at Tongseng along the Sonapur area of National Highway 44. Yesterday, it was reported that the transport corporations in Silchar and Agartala said the Sherowali Travels bus had a seating capacity of 36, but was carrying at least 66 people.

The additional passengers must have been picked up en route.

Many of them were seen squatting on cane murrahs placed between the two rows of seats.

The passenger list, a copy of which is with the Tripura Government Transport Corporation headquarters in Agartala, showed the names of the passengers, written hastily, while their age and address were not mentioned.

“I have ordered the police to ensure that no hotel in Lad Rymbai serves liquor to drivers, especially to the ones in charge of night buses,” Bhagotia said.

The driver of the bus (AS01 Y 7379), which was Agartala-bound, was allegedly drunk. Passengers undergoing treatment at Silchar Medical College and Hospital made this allegation. An injured passengers, Subhashis Sarkar, 25, a student of Agartala BEd College, said he had seen the driver consuming alcohol while driving.

Bhagotia also said 25 out of the 30 bodies have been identified and taken away by relatives. The bodies have been carried to places in Tripura, West Bengal, Haryana, Patna, Jhansi, Barpeta and Karimganj.

The remaining five bodies were today shifted from Khliehriat, the district headquarters of East Jaintia Hills, to the North East Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences on the outskirts of Shillong. A case has also been registered at Khliehriat police station in relation to the incident.