A mass cremation of 24 out of the 25 victims, who were charred to death after a private bus caught fire in Maharashtra’s Buldhana district, was held on July 2 a senior official said.
The body of one of the victims will be handed over to the family for burial, an official said earlier in the day.
As most of the victims were charred beyond recognition after the bus caught fire in the early hours of July 1, efforts were made to convince their families for mass cremation of the bodies instead of their DNA analysis, the official said.
The DNA testing is a lengthy procedure which may take days to ascertain the identity of the deceased, as per sources.
The mass cremation of 24 bodies was held at Vaikunth Dham Hindu Smashan Bhoomi in Buldhana on July 2.
Relatives of the deceased and Maharashtra Minister Girish Mahajan were present during the cremation and paid homage to the deceased.
The 25 passengers were charred to death as the private bus they were travelling in caught fire after hitting a divider on the Nagpur-Mumbai ‘Samruddhi Expressway’ in eastern Maharashtra’s Buldhana district at around 1.30 a.m. on July 1, police earlier said.
The deceased included 11 male and 14 female passengers. Ten of the victims were from Wardha, seven from Pune, four from Nagpur and two each from Yavatmal and Washim.
The family members of the 25 deceased have reached Buldhana, according to local administration.
Eight persons, including the driver and ‘cleaner’ (driver’s assistant), survived the horrific accident.
A case for negligent driving was registered against the bus driver on July 1 with police believing that, prima facie, he dozed off and lost control of the vehicle.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has ordered a probe into the accident and announced an ex-gratia assistance of ₹5 lakh for the families of each deceased.
The sleeper coach bus of `Vidarbha Travels' was on its way to Pune from Nagpur when it met with the accident around 1.30 am on Saturday at Pimpalkhuta village near Sindkhedraja, 130 k.m. from Nagpur.
A report prepared by the Amaravati Regional Transport Office (RTO) said as per the details provided by a survivor, the bus dashed into a steel pole on the right side, leading to the driver losing control. It then hit the divider.
After the front axle assembly got dislocated, the front portion of the bus hit the road and the resultant friction generated heat and fire (as engine oil temperature was also high since the bus was in on mode), the report said.
The vehicle then overturned on its left side, which blocked the passenger entrance-exit, and the loss of alignment of the vehicle due to the impact of the accident also made the emergency door inoperative, creating a virtual death trap for the passengers.