Twenty-two persons were killed and 19 injured when the bus they were travelling in from Mussoorie to Haridwar fell into a deep ditch at Kolhukhet near here on Wednesday night. The passengers were all businessmen from Haridwar and had come to Mussoorie with their families for a picnic. The driver of the bus has been arrested, the police said on Thursday.
The dead included nine men, seven women and six children. Rescue and relief operations were led by Tourism and Urban Development Minister Madan Kaushik. Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank called on the injured at Doon Hospital and announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs.1 lakh each for the next of kin of those killed and Rs.50,000 each for the injured.
Governor Margaret Alva expressed profound grief at the deaths and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.
PTI adds from Haridwar: Markets remained shut here on Wednesday as the city mourned the death of 22 people in the mishap.
The Uttarakhand Government has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the mishap. The Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Mussoorie has been asked to hold the inquiry and submit a report within 20 days, said Dehra Dun District Magistrate Sachin Kurve.
Markets in Haridwar and nearby areas of Jwalapur and Kankhal remained closed to mourn the death of traders and their family members.
There was hardly a dry eye as the bodies were consigned to flames in two crematoriums in the presence of senior politicians and administrative and police officers, besides a large number of relatives of the victims.
Union Minister of State for Labour and Employment and MP from Haridwar, Harish Rawat, Congress MP Satpal Maharaj, Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker Harbans Kapoor, State Ministers and District Magistrate R. Meenakshi Sundaram were among those who attended the cremation at the Kankhal and Kharkhari crematoriums.