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Probe report of Nurpur school bus accident Probe report of Nurpur school bus accident

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Findings of magisterial probe into Nurpur Tragedy exposes HPPWD’s blunder

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Kangra: The Additional District Magistrate (ADM) has completed the magisterial probe ordered into the school bus accident in Nurpur on April 9, 2018, and submitted the report to the Deputy Commissioner.   

The Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur-led State Government had ordered the inquiry after unrest broke out among the people following the tragedy, which caused loss of 28 people including 24 children.  While 23 had died on the spot, one succumbed to injuries a few days later at a hospital. 

While Hindi and English Dailies told an altogether different story related to the report of the magisterial probe, a Government spokesperson today made some of the original findings public.   

Findings of the magisterial probe into Nurpur School Bus Mishap

1.   The driver was never challaned/charged even once for the offence of over speeding, drunken driving and rash driving. 
2.   The accident did not seem to happen due to any mechanical failure.
3.   The site of the accident was a black spot with loose soil and damaged edges abutting a landslide zone with cliff and did not have any crash barriers and the road formed sort of craters.
4.   The bus should have been on the left-hand side but due to the absence of eyewitnesses, it couldn’t be ascertained how and why the bus went to the right side of the road.
5.   As per a survivor, a 10-year-old, who was sitting on the right side window seat, divulged that a motorcyclist came from opposite direction after which the bus rolled down
6.   Since there was no eyewitness of the accident,  it is believed that just to save the motorcyclist, the driver, in a reflex action,  had negotiated the bus to the right-hand side, misjudging the space on the right-hand side road. He could not have been able to control the bus which had reluctantly rolled down. 
7.   The accident has occurred under unverifiable circumstances. The road was straight, not sloping up or down 
8.   The driver was never seen driving bus in a rash manner and reported to be a mature person
9.   The road on this point is in very poor condition, uneven and forming fatal craters. The edges of the road on this spot are badly broken supported/reinforced with no crash barriers/parapet.

 

What caused misreporting?

Surprisingly, the Dailies reported that the inquiry found a human error on the part of the driver Madan Lal (67).  These reports further said the driver was looking back as children were making noise or suggested that the driver might have dosed-off on a duty, which is not hectic in nature and includes boarding-off children after every 10 minutes.

The road was tip-top and was not in poor condition, these reports said.  It is not clear who fed the media this story.

However, the findings of the report have made it clear that the Public Works Department shares the responsibility for the massacre.

That’s why the government has haphazardly tarred the patch of over one kilometre and constructed new parapets on the spot from where the bus had skid-off the road.

Now, the PWD is also installing crash barriers too.

magisterial probe report in Nurpur Bus accident

Photos: Amar Ujala

Take a look at the two pictures. One of them was taken on the day of the accident and the second one clicked recently and published in the Hindi Daily Amar Ujala in its May 9, 2018, edition. The picture speaks itself. 

At the same time, the parents, based on the said media reports, questioned the findings and demanded a separate, most preferably a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The shattered parents of the 24 children including some who had joined the school a day ago killed in the perhaps one of the most tragic and heart-breaking road accident in Himachal Pradesh.

Most of the kids aged between five years to 10 years and some families lost more than one child, which was the worst part of it. It is too early for children of this age to die a horrible death, which cannot be called an accident in a literal sense.

The mass cremation of small pyres weighed heavy on everyone who keeps a heart.

However, it is to be seen whether the State Government would take a action this time or will opt to save the skin of responsible bureaucrats and just move on like the governments have been doing in previous cases. 

If the Government would not deliver justice to the victims of this massacre by taking action this time, there would be more such tragedies.

In fact, the reason the people keep dying in road accidents or due to jaundice outbreaks is that no action is ever taken against the responsible government officials, especially the bureaucrats.

In case the Government chose to patronize the sinful officials, the public must not remain silent this time.  

We believe the mass cremation of small pyres is too heavy to be overlooked for anyone who keeps a heart.   

Top Photos: Amar Ujala

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 9 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture the world around him in his DSLR lens.

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Video: Employees on Election Duty in Pachhad Throw Away Food Alleging Poor Quality

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Poor quality food to pachhad election duty officials

Sirmaur- A video has appeared on social media showing employees deployed in Pachhad constituency of Sirmaur district on election duty complaining that they were served stale, poor quality packed food. They can be heard saying that such foul smell is emanating from the packed food that even dogs won’t eat it.

They are holding the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Rajgarh, responsible for it.  They were also seen throwing away the packets of food, while some other packets were already discarded either on the road or on the roadside. Surprisngly, these employees are not discarding these packets containing food properly, and instead, littering them anywhere. It appears like the Swachh Bharat campaign proved to be ineffective in creating awareness. 

The video is circulating on social media, attracting criticism. On receiving this news, the SDM, Naresh Verma, said he has asked the Tehsildar to probe the allegations and submit a report. He said an action would be taken against the contractor to whom the contract was awarded for arranging food for employees on the election duty.

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Payment of Taxis Hired for CBI Probe in Kotkhai Gudia Case Pending Since 2 Years, CM Helpline Fails to Resolve Grievance

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Kotkhai gudia case cab hired 1

Shimla-Two years ago, when the investigation in Kotkhai custodial death of an accused, Suraj, in Gudiya rape and murder case had begun, two cabs were hired to facilitate transportation of police officials and the team of the Central Bureau of Investigation.

These cabs (Innova) were hired from Safeway Travels, Shimla.

“The Station House Officer (SHO), Sadar Police Station, Sanjeev Gautam, called me to provide two cabs on August 28, 2017, to ferry CBI team to Delhi from Shimla and then Back to Shimla from Delhi. The charges for two cabs amounted to Rs. 28,000,”

Ankit Bhardwaj, the taxi operator, told Himachal Watcher.

“On September 3, 2019, I was again asked to provide two cabs for the same purpose. This time charges for two cabs were Rs. 36,000 (18,000 each). The total payment amounted to Rs. 64,000,”

Ankit added.

He was told that his payment would be cleared by the Office of Superintendent of Police, Shimla. He submitted the bills within a few days. However, he contacted SHO, Sadar, when he did not receive his payment after one month of submission of bills. He was told to visit the SP Office himself to inquire about the same. From the SP office, he was referred to the Office of Deputy Commissioner, Shimla. Since that day, he has been running to and fro between SP Office and DC Office.

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The two offices keep exchanging letters to each other, but no payment was ever cleared.

Ankit said once DC even told him that the office does not have funds to pay his bills. He was even asked to go to the Secretariat and seek payment from HP GAD. In October 2019, the GAD, in response to a letter from the Additional District Magistrate regarding the said payment, replied,

“The vehicles have been hired by the Police Department for CBI team at their own level and GAD is not liable for the payment of vehicles hired by another Department.”

Eventually, disappointed Ankit made a complaint on the Chief Minister Helpline – about which the CM and ruling BJP had been boasting of. To his dismay, his complaint was disposed of without resolving it.
Himachal CM Helpline review

After Ankit filed a complaint through CM Helpline, he was again sent for by the SP, Shimla. He had to search the file at the office himself and then take up the matter with the SP. He was shown a letter addressed to the Director-General of the Polic, and again given assurance that payment would be cleared soon.

The operator is now feeling mentally harassed and has even written to the Chief Minister and the Prime Minister of India to help him get his payment. However, everyone appears to be helpless or unwilling to assist him.

Recently, the Chief Secretary, HP, Shrikant Baldi, had claimed that thousands of complaints were received through the CM Helpline from September 16 to October 15, 2019. He had claimed that 60 percent of the complaints were solved and was appreciating the government departments for the same.

However, recent reviews of the Helpline in media and cases, such as this of Ankit Bhardwaj, indicates that it is just another gimmick in the name of addressing public grievances unless the CM Jairam Thakur does not intervene and seek answers from the responsible departments. The CM had assured that he would monitor the Helpline himself and strong action would be taken against responsible officials if complaints were disposed of without resolving them.

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Sarkaghat – Not Buckling Up Helmet, Rash Driving Cost Youth His Life, Dies of Head Injury in Bike Accident (Video)

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sarkaghat bike accident kills youth

Mandi- In a road accident in Sarkaghat of Mandi district, a 24-year-old was killed and the pillion rider was injured on Friday afternoon. As per the police and locals, the bike skid on the ‘Tatahar Pul’ (Bridge) in Nabahi panchayat in Sarkaghat. Two local youth, who were identified as Rishab and Vishal Rana, fell off the bike. Rishab’s head was smashed against the iron railing of the bridge, causing a severe head injury that led to excess bleeding.

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A grave mistake and violation of road safety rules cost this youth his life.

“The youth was wearing a helmet but had not buckled it up. When the bike skid, the helmet flew off exposing his head. It was found that the youth was also over-speeding”,

Deputy Superintendent of Police, Sarkaghat, Chander Paul told Himachal Watcher.

“Along with wearing a helmet, buckling it up properly is also a part of traffic rule and there is a penalty if the straps are found loose. This accident is a clear example of how important it is to wear a helmet properly, and not just to avoid a challan,”

DSP added.

A case was registered by the local police for further investigation. The body of the victim would be handed over to his parents after a post-mortem, DSP said.

While the pillion rider was lucky enough not to sustain a head injury, Rishab paid for this mistake with his life.

By the time, he was taken to a nearby hospital by locals, he was dead. Eyewitnesses describe it as a horrible scene as the head of the deceased was almost split open.

This tragic accident is a reminder regarding the violation of traffic rules which are meant for our own safety. The youth would have stood a chance to dodge death in this accident if he had not ignored this crucial road safety rule while riding a two-wheeler.

It’s pertinent to mention that this rule is openly violated in almost every district of Himachal except a few cities like capital Shimla. In rural areas, the number of violators is high.

Moreover, two-wheel riders including cyclist must avoid wearing low-quality helmets because they are cheap. There is nothing more costly than life.

 

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