Information provided by various telecom companies has helped Transport Department officials establish the identity of many of the travellers charred to death when their bus from Bangalore to Hyderabad reportedly caught fire in Mahabubnagar district of Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday.

At least 24 of the 45 people who lost their lives are believed to be from Karnataka. Sixteen bodies are yet to be identified.

Identifying the bodies and contacting the relatives is proving to be a difficult task. Officials have obtained a list of passengers who had a booking from Jabbar Travels, the bus operator, but this is not comprehensive as some travellers boarded the bus along the route.

Besides, sources in the travel agency said that the company only asks for name and contact number of the passengers. This is often just a mobile phone number, which may have been destroyed in the mishap. So, officials contacted mobile phone service providers to obtain contact details. Transport Commissioner K. Amar Narayana told The Hindu that they have also managed to track the addresses of some passengers who booked tickets online.

The families of those in the accident have been traced to places such as Bangalore, Gulbarga and Belgaum in Karnataka, Hyderabad, and even Orissa. Details are being verified and families contacted with the help of police, he said.

Transport Minister R. Ramalinga Reddy too has instructed the City Police Commissioner to find out details of the passengers. However, a police official said they had few leads as no credentials were available with the travel agency.

The unidentified bodies have been shifted to Osmania hospital in Hyderabad. Families may contact the hospital and claim the body after a DNA test, Mr. Narayana added.

Coordination

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner of Transport, Gulbarga, Shivraj Patil, has been appointed nodal officer and sent to Hyderabad to coordinate with Andhra Pradesh officials involved in the investigation.

Families of passengers may call Mr. Patil on 09740810006 for help.

‘Permits valid’

Mr. Narayan said officials had verified the documents of the bus — a Volvo — and found them in order. The fitness certificate, insurance and permit were valid.

Jameel Jabbar, partner in the company, said the bus was in good shape. The 44-seater multi-axel bus, which was purchased from an Andhra Pradesh-based travel agency in 2012, had covered 6.5 lakh kilometres. The company ensured that it was serviced every 25,000 km as per norms, he added.

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