At least 32 people, including 13 children, were killed and eight others injured when two mini buses carrying brick kiln workers and their families were hit by a truck on NH 35 in lower Assam's Barpeta district in the wee hours on Thursday.
The two buses were going one behind the other when the truck from West Bengal rammed into the first bus and moved it backwards to hit the second one at Doholapara, under Sorbhog Police Station, at about 4.30 am, police said.
The buses overturned under the impact of the collision. The collision killed 32 people, including the drivers of the buses, on the spot and injured 13 others.
Two of the critically wounded passengers admitted at Barpeta Medical College Hospital succumbed to their injuries, police said.
There were at least 45 persons in the two vans, 32 of whom have been killed. The driver of the truck (WB25C-2618) who suffered minor injuries has been arrested. The 32 deceased included eight male and five female children and eight adult women apart from eleven adult male persons. The truck was carrying a consignment of sodium carbonate from Guwahati to West Bengal.
Several families were wiped out in the accident as the victims were travelling from Kholkholi and nearby villages in Dhubri district in the two buses to work for long periods in two brick kilns at Rangia in Kamrup district, they said.
The two mini buses were packed with the people, their utensils, foodgrains, personal belongings, etc.
The injured were admitted to Barpeta Medical College Hospital and Bongaigaon Civil Hospital.
The bodies were sent to Barpeta Medical College Hospital for postmortem where the families of the deceased arriving from Dhubri identified some of them.
The two injured, who succumbed at the Barpeta hospital, were identified as Ilina Bibi and Mohidul Haque.
Among those dead on the spot were identified as the two bus drivers and handiman Kabir Das, Nikhil Das and Mohidur Islam.
Some other deceased persons were identified as Asima Bibi, Gelemar Khatun, Amina Bibi, Hamida Bibi, Samina Begam, Hasmat Ali, Nasiruddin Khan, Asar Khan, Moidul Islam, Aftar Ali, Khadir Ahmed, Rezaul Haque, Saidul Rahman, Sahar Ali, Rizaul Ali, Afsar Ali and Ashtar Ali.
Assam Governor JB Patnaik has expressed his condolences at the death of the victims of the accident and wished for speedy recovery of those injured. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who visited the BMCH to inquire into the health condition of the injured, directed the health authorities to provide the best of medical care and treatment. He also announced ex-gratia of Rs 1 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased and suitable assistance to those who sustained grievous and minor injuries.
Gogoi instituted a high-level probe into the tragic accident and directed the concerned authorities to strictly enforce speed limit, prevent rash driving, overload of passengers and goods and proper verification of driving license to avert such road mishaps in future.
With inputs from PTI