Three weeks on, the Himachal Pradesh Transport Department is yet to take action against those responsible for the Kullu bus tragedy last month, which had left 45 dead and 33 injured. An overloaded private bus had fallen into a 300-metre-deep nullah near Dhoth Morh in Banjar tehsil on June 20.
However, responding to queries, Transport Minister Govind Singh Thakur Friday claimed that strict action would be taken against erring persons. Apart from officials at the Transport Department, those from the Public Works Department (PWD), police and the owner of the bus were responsible for the mishap, he said, adding that show-cause notices would soon be issued to them.
He said, "PWD officials of the area were responsible for the accident as there was no crash barrier or parapet despite a blind curve and slope on the highway." Similarly, the district police and transport officials were responsible for the accident as they failed to check overloading, he said, adding that 87 persons were travelling in the 42-seater bus.
The minister said two other buses were supposed to ply on the route before the ill-fated bus left Banjar at 3.15 pm for Gada Gushaini, resulting in overloading. Had the other two buses plied on the route, the ill-fated vehicle would not have been overloaded, he said.
Thakur said one of the survivors informed them that the ill-fated bus was not in a good condition as it had developed some snag twice minutes before the accident. In a reply to a question about inconvenience caused to commuters due to strictness regarding overloading after the Banjar bus accident, Thakur said buses could carry only 30 per cent more passengers than their seating capacity.
Instructions in this regard had already been issued to the transport staff, he added.
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