The prime minister also said the JMM and Congress have treated the tribals as vote banks only.
At least 39 people lost their lives on Wednesday after their bus skidded off the road and plunged into a 300-feet gorge in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said.
The ill-fated bus carrying 56 passengers was on its way to Jammu from Kishtwar Kishtwar when it fell into the gorge near Trungal-Assar on the Batote-Kishtwar national highway, they said.
“Four critically injured persons were flown in an air ambulance to the medical college at Jammu for treatment,” Deputy Commissioner, Doda, Harvinder Singh said. However, Death toll in the bus mishap has risen to 39 with one more injured succumbing in hospital.
He said preliminary enquiry into the mishap indicated that the bus had jumped the new crash barrier and plunged into the gorge on the wrong side of the road.
According to officials, the Indian Air force (IAF) helicopters have been rushed to the site to rescue the injured and admit them to the medical college hospital.
Expressing grief over the incident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh to kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to the injured.
“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,” he said in a post on X.
Union Minister of State Jitendra Singh said all possible help is being provided to the affected people. “Injured being shifted to District Hospital Kishtwar and GMC Doda as per requirement. Helicopter service to be arranged for shifting the more injured ones. All possible help, as required being provided,” he said on X.
Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha also expressed his condolences over the loss of lives in the accident.
“Extremely pained by the loss of lives in a tragic bus accident in Assar, Doda. My heartfelt condolences to 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,” he said in a social media post.
Lt Governor Sinha on Wednesday evening announced an ex-gratia of Rs.5 lakh each for next of kin of the persons killed in the mishap. He also approved Rs one lakh for those injured and assured all possible assistance to the affected families.
Former chief minister and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said, “Deeply shocked & saddened about the tragic road accident at Assar in Doda. Deepest condolences to the families of those feared dead & hope the administration expedites rescue operations.”
Expressing anguish over the incident, National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah said, “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.”
Among the killed, 10 were women. The list of killed includes passengers from Chattisgarh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.