Bathinda – As many as eight students were killed in Bathinda when a speeding truck lost control and ploughed into them in the killer smog.
At the time of the accident, the students were waiting for an alternative vehicle after the bus they were travelling in broke down near Chetak Park on the outskirts of Bathinda city on the Bathinda-Chandigarh Highway.
The accident took place when the truck first rammed a Tata sumo which was parked on the side and then ploughed into the students waiting on the roadside. Of the 14 students, studying in different colleges and coaching centres, waiting there, eight died on the spot while four others who were injured have been rushed to the Civil Hospital for treatment.
The students who died on the spot were identified as Rafi Mohammad (23) of Dyalpura Mirza, Vinod Kumar (18), Shikha (17), Khushbir Kaur (20), Jaspreet Kaur (18) and Nancy (19) of Rampura Phul; Ishwar (19) of Bhucho Mandi and Manpreet Kaur (19) of Lehra Khana village. Lovepreet Kaur (25), who belonged to Rampur and worked with the Food and Supplies Department, was killed too. Four of the injured were admitted to the Civil Hospital and Adesh Medical College here.
On the other side of the road on the bridge, a PRTC bus, that rammed into a Tata pick-up standing in the middle of the road after it broke down, was hit by a private bus from the rear, leading to a pile-up involving three or more cars. Mandeep Kaur, a teacher from Bathinda, was killed and 12 persons were injured.
Survivor Prince of Rampura and a student of DAV College, Bathinda, said he saved himself by jumping to the other side of the road. He suffered minor injuries.
Another eyewitness Kewal Singh said, “Just as we were asking commuters to slow down owing to the pile-up, a truck rammed into a Tata Sumo and then people standing along the road.”
The bodies crushed, the victims’ kin could recognise them only from their clothes and belongings.
Soon afterwards Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh tweeted about the accident saying that he was pained to hear about the death of 8 students and also said that he had directed the Bathinda MLA andMinister MS Badal to personally monitor the rescue and relief operations.
Pained to hear of death of 8 students in #Bathinda accident. Have directed authorities to rush all help to victims & their families (1/2).
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) 8 November 2017
Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal visited the injured and announced Rs 1 lakh each for the next of kin of those killed and Rs 50,000 for the injured. Rampura MLA Gurpreet Singh Kangar also announced an ex gratia of Rs 1 lakh and Rs 25,000 for the injured.
Gurmeet Singh, SP-City, said a case under Section 304 of the IPC had been registered against the truck driver. The truck belonged to Patel Constructions.
Schools shut for 3 days The Punjab Government has closed all schools — government and private— for three days till November 11. The order will be applicable to primary, middle, high and senior secondary schools.