Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday ruled out road construction on the Samruddhi-Mahamarg Expressway as the cause of the accident in Buldhana district in which 25 passengers of a private bus died after the vehicle caught fire.
Talking to reporters here, the deputy Chief Minister said that he will accompany Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to the accident site in Buldhana today and will meet with the injured in hospital.
“Road construction not the cause of bus accident on Samruddhi highway,” Fadnavis said.
He said that the bodies of those who died in the mishap will be identified using DNA testing if required so that they can be handed over to their families.
A total of 25 people, including three children were killed while eight people sustained injuries after a bus which was on its way to Pune caught fire in Buldhana on the Samruddhi Mahamarg Expressway in the early hours today.
The bus with 33 people on board had commenced its journey from Yavatmal.
The driver, who survived the accident and is undergoing treatment at a hospital told police that the tyre of the bus burst at around 1:35 am and hit a pole on the expressway which caused it to overturn.
The police said that this caused damage to the diesel tank of the bus, which caught fire.
However, the exact reason for the accident has not yet been ascertained, the police said.
The accident took place at around 1:30 am on Saturday on the Samruddhi-Mahamarg Expressway.
“The bus driver and conductor have been taken into custody by police,” said Maharashtra minister Girish Mahajan.
“The bus was travelling from Nagpur to Pune when it met with an accident at around 1:30 am. The driver said that the accident took place after a tyre burst, leading to flames in the bus. Later the diesel tank of the vehicle caught fire. There are 3 children among those who died and the rest are adults. The exact reason for the accident has not yet been ascertained,” Buldhana Superintendant of Police (SP) Sunil Kadasane told reporters.
According to police, a total of 33 people were travelling in the bus which was on its way to Pune. The bus owner, Virendra Darna, also said that the tyre burst caused the accident.
“We bought the bus in the year 2020. The bus driver Danish was experienced in driving. We have got information that the bus hit the road divider after the tyre burst. Due to the presence of flammable items in the bus, the bus caught fire,” Darna said.
A survivor of the accident Yogesh Ramdas Gavai recounted the experience of escaping the burning vehicle said, “I boarded the Vidarbha Travels bus from Nagpur for Aurangabad. The bus overturned and caught fire immediately after it met with an accident on the Samruddhi Mahamarg expressway. Three to four people broke the window and escaped, soon after there was a blast in the bus.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde have expressed grief at the loss of lives and announced ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh and Rs 5 lakh respectively to the next kin of the deceased. (ANI)