CM announces Rs. 1 lakh ex gratia to family of those killed

At least 40 people were feared drowned when a State-owned luxury bus plunged into the Bhakra canal, near the landmark Sirhind floating restaurant, along the national highway No. 1 in the wee hours of Wednesday. Two bodies and a portion of the bus were recovered till reports last came in.

Though the SSP of Fatehgarh Sahib district, Gurmeet Singh Chauhan, under whose jurisdiction the accident occurred, did not confirm the toll, an official release, through which Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal expressed shock over the tragedy, said that all passengers in the bus were feared dead.

The accident occurred when the Amritsar-bound bus, crashed through the railing of the bridge and plunged into the canal around 2 a.m. The bus was swept away for almost 3 km before it got stuck at Saundh headworks downstream. Reports said that at least 40 passengers boarded the bus at Delhi on Tuesday night.

The Chief Minister deputed Transport and Irrigation Ministers, Ajit Singh Kohar and Janmeja Singh Sekhon, to visit the site and supervise rescue operations.

The government sounded an alert along the Bhakhra mainline, Narwana canal and Sirhind feeder, to look for survivors and recover the bodies. Authorities feared the bodies could have been swept away for about 30 km. Services of Army divers were requisitioned to assist the civil and police administration.

Mr. Badal, while expressing grief over the tragedy, announced Rs. 1 lakh ex-gratia to the next of kin of those killed in the accident and free medical treatment to the injured.

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