5 burnt to death inside state bus near Balangir

Fourteen people were killed in four separate mishaps in different parts of the state on Thursday. While five persons were charred to death when a bus caught fire at Puintala near Balangir town, around 330 km from Bhubaneswar, nine others were killed in separate mishaps in Sambalpur, Sonepur and Keonjhar districts.

Sources said an Odisha State Road Transport Corporation ( OSRTC) bus from Bhubaneswar to Sinapali in Nuapada district caught fire around 2.30 am on Thursday after it hit a roadside neem tree in front of the Puintala block office. “It seems a case of rash driving. The vehicle rammed into a tree. Five were burnt while many others were injured. The driver fled,” Balangir SP R Prakash said.

Police suspect short-circuit in the engine battery triggered the fire. Most of the passengers were asleep when the accident took place. Passengers broke window shields and jumped off the bus. Five persons, who got trapped inside, were burnt to death, passengers said.

Anshu Jain, a native of Rupra Road in Kalahandi district, lost her son and mother in the mishap. “There was a loud sound. When I woke up, my son and my mother were already into flames. I could not decide what to do and eventually jumped off the bus. I could not save them,” an inconsolable Anshu said. She had boarded the bus at Boudh with her son Atul (16) and mother Shakuntala Agarwal (70). They were on their way to Rupra Road. Anshu has fractured her right hand and has been admitted in Balangir district hospital. The other deceased include Sachin Patra (42), an advocate from Patnagarh. Two other bodies were yet to be identified.

Of the 47 injured, condition of two persons was stated to be critical. “We referred two women who sustained head injuries besides severe burns to VSS Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack. They were serious,” said Balangir chief district medical officer Bikrant Kindo. Kindo said 26 passengers were discharged after first-aid while others were hospitalized.

Locals said the mishap occurred because the tree is on the middle of the road after recent expansion. “After the road was broadened, the tree is on the middle of the road. There is no radioactive light pasted on the tree as is the usual practice,” said a resident of Puintala.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik announced Rs 1 lakh ex-gratia for kin of the deceased. Besides the police probe, the commerce and transport department has also ordered a parallel inquiry. “I have ordered an inquiry to find out what led to the accident,” commerce and transport minister Surbat Tarai said.

Around 55 km away from the accident spot in Balangir, three others were killed when their car hit a roadside tree at Shindhol on Sambalpur-Sonepur road under Sonepur district. Sources said nine persons from Bolangir’s Lukapara village were returning to their village on Thursday after attending a wedding party at Jhankarpali near Sambalpur town. Two persons, identified as Nehru Naik and Basista Pradhan, died on the spot. One Sridhar Naik died at VSS Medical College and Hospital, Burla.

In another accident, five persons were killed when a jeep and a car collided head on near Charmal between Sambalpur and Rairakhol. While three were killed on the spot, two succumbed to their injuries on the way to hospital. Police identified the deceased as Premananda Pradhan, Akhil Kumar Sahu, Prafulla Pradhan, Judhistir Biswal and car driver Jogeswar Mohanty. They were all in the jeep.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.