Imphal: Seven people, including five school children, were killed and 40 others injured when a bus met with an accident near Leimatak in between Bishnupur and Khoupum on Wednesday.
Governor La Ganesan, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, ministers, civil society organisations, and students’ bodies expressed shock and grief over the accident. Most of the injured were moved to different hospitals in Imphal.
He also visited the mortuary of the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS), where the dead bodies were kept, and consoled the families of the deceased. N Biren Singh later rushed to the hospitals and met the victims.
He said some people uploaded information about the accident on social media, which enabled the government to launch a rescue operation.
Biren said five students, a warden, and a teacher died in the accident. Biren Singh said that the bus, which met the accident, was carrying 47 people, including students and staff of Thambalnu Higher Secondary School, Yairipok Top Chingtha, for an annual study tour to Khoupum.
He informed that the state government had decided to provide ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakhs to the families of deceased persons after a discussion among cabinet ministers.
Financial assistance of Rs 1 lakh and Rs 50,000 will be provided to the seriously injured and those with minor injuries, respectively, he added.
The CM said that the state government had also decided to bear the expenses of the treatment of the injured persons being admitted to different hospitals.
To avoid such incidents in the future, N. Biren Singh cautioned the public to take the utmost care while driving along hilly areas, as the visibility becomes lower during the winter season due to foggy weather.
Appealing to the schools to avoid study tours or excursions during the winter season, especially in December and January, he informed that the Education Department has today issued an order directing all the principals, headmasters, and headmistresses of all government, government-aided, and private unaided schools in the state not to organise school excursions until January 10, 2023, to avoid any untoward incidents.
The CM also urged all the drivers of passenger vehicles plying in the state not to drive beyond the speed limit, adding that passenger vehicles could be seen driving at high speeds to get passengers.
Speaking of many school vans carrying students in excess of capacity, he stated that verification will be initiated to check such school vans, and action will be taken against those drivers carrying students in excess of capacity, such as cancelling their driving license.
Action will also be taken against those schools where such van drivers are transporting students, he added.
He emphasised the importance of providing awareness on the rules for driving passenger vehicles in order to avoid any untoward incidents, and he stated that the Transport Department will organise a conference for all drivers in the state to make them aware of the dos and don’ts of driving.
La. Ganesan, Governor, said he was deeply shocked to hear the sad news of a bus accident on an annual educational excursion of Thambalnu Higher Secondary School, Yairipok, Imphal East.