Six devotees to Tirumala were killed on the spot in a ghastly road accident at Agarala on the Tirupati-Bengaluru highway, when their vehicle was hit by a lorry in the early hours of Tuesday.
A 15-member group of devotees from Yelahanka in Bengaluru city hired a Tempo Traveller vehicle and started on a pilgrimage to Tirumala late on Monday night. When they reached Agarala village in Chandragiri mandal, 20 km from Tirupati, the vehicle was rammed by a truck coming from Piduguralla in Guntur district.
The deceased were identified as B.M. Suresh (25), Magala Gauramma (23), R. Parvathamma (43), B.S. Sujatha (40), N. Ramya (23), and driver B.M. Kiran Kumar (26), while the injured were rushed to the SVR Ruia Government General Hospital by a 108 ambulance vehicle. The vehicle was damaged beyond recognition. Police deployed earthmovers to pull the damaged vehicle off the road.
The injured are: Poojappa (40), B. Madhu (23), Munemma (60), T. Nagamma (55), M. Munemma (55), Shoba (32), Malamma (50), all hailing from Yelahanka in Devanahalli taluk of Bengaluru, and the lorry driver, K. Ramakrishna Reddy (30), hailing from Brahmanapalli village of Piduguralla in Guntur district. The cleaner, Munaga Srinivasa Rao (39) of Rajupalem mandal (Guntur district), escaped unhurt.
Accidents are common on this stretch of the road, part of the Puthalapattu-Naidupet State highway that connects the temple city of Tirupati with the Chittoor-Kurnool national highway on the west and the Chennai-Nellore national highway on the east. No action has been taken despite repeated pleas by the locals to widen the stretch and construct dividers.