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Lost 10 of family in tragedy, will haunt always: Cgarh accident survivor

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Senjo M R
May 21, 2024 23:34 IST
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A 57-year-old man, who survived the accident in Chhattisgarh's Kabirdham that claimed 19 lives including that of his wife, said he managed to jump out of the mini goods carrier in time thinking the driver would gain control over it, but as the latter also leaped out of the vehicle it led to the tragedy.

IMAGE: Chhattisgarh deputy Chief Minister Vijay Sharma inspects the site where the Kawardha road accident took place, in Kabirdham, May 20, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

Recounting the horrifying incident that occurred on Monday afternoon, Jodhiram Dhurve said he will never be able to forget the accident as he has lost 10 members of his family.


A total of 15 women, one man and three girls, all tribals, were killed and three others injured when the mini goods vehicle (a pick-up van) ferrying a group of tendu leaves collectors plunged into a valley on Banjari Ghat under Kukdur police station area.

Of the deceased, 17 were residents of Semarha village, two others were from nearby villages.

Talking to PTI on Tuesday in Semarha, Dhurve said, "We had been using the same vehicle for the last three days, but nobody knew the fate would be otherwise on Monday."

"Like any other day, around 36 people left from Semarha at around 4 am on Monday in the mini goods vehicle to pluck tendu leaves in Bahpani area, around 25 km away. After completing the work, they gathered near the goods vehicle at around 12.30 pm and had our lunch and then left for Semarha around 1.20 pm," he said.

"The bundles of tendu leaves were kept on the cargo bed on the rear side of the goods vehicle and women were sitting over the bundles. I was sitting next to the driver in his cabin. When the vehicle was descending in Banjari Ghat, the driver asked people to jump off from the moving vehicle citing that brakes had failed and he was not able to stop it," Dhurve said.

"I then told the driver to turn the vehicle toward the rock as it will help in stopping the vehicle. I shouted to the occupants to jump off the vehicle following which some of the men did so. After the person sitting beside me jumped off the vehicle, I also did the same," he said.

He said they thought the driver would gain control over the vehicle, but he also jumped out leaving the steering unattended following which the vehicle plunged around 40 feet deep into the valley and crashed onto the road below the hill.

"We heard screams and cries and those who had managed to jump out of the vehicle rushed towards them. My wife and other women were lying on the road. We offered them water to drink," he said.

Dhurve said he lifted his wife, Dhanbai (52), with the help of others and brought her under a tree. Two anganwadi workers arrived there and people who were passing by called an ambulance. Forty-five minutes after the accident, an ambulance arrived at the place, he said.

"My wife had suffered injuries on her head, but was conscious and talking to me," he said, adding that the ambulance took the injured persons, including his wife, to Kukdur hospital.

"I informed my elder son, who was in the village, about the incident over the phone, following which he reached the hospital. After her preliminary treatment there, when my wife was being shifted to Kabridham district hospital in Kawardha, she succumbed on the way," he added.

Dhurve said he lost 10 members of his family in the tragedy and can never forget the incident.

Of the 17 deceased from Semarha, 10 belonged to one family and four to another family, while three others from another single family.

Pyari Bai God (40), her daughter Sonam (16), Shanti Bai God (35), her daughter Kiran (15) and Leela Bai (35) and her daughter Bharti (16), all natives of Semarha, are among the deceased.

While final rites of 17 deceased were performed on Tuesday in Semarha, the bodies of two others were taken to Singhari.

Heart-wrenching scenes were witnessed on Wednesday morning at Semarha as mortal remains of the deceased were taken for final rites on tractor-trolleys.

Ten bodies were put on a long single funeral pyre and consigned to flames, while final rites of four other bodies were performed on a single funeral and three more on another pyre.

State Deputy Chief Minister Vijay Sharma attended the funeral in Semarha.

Sharma said, as per the wishes of family members of the deceased and villagers, arrangements will soon be made for building a memorial in the memory of the deceased persons.

"This is a very painful moment...Mostly mothers (women) are among the dead in the accident. I am feeling as if I have lost members of my family. I pray to God to give strength to the kin of the victims," he said.

Not only the people of Chhattisgarh but the entire country have expressed grief over the incident. President Droupadi Murmu, Prime Minister Narendra

Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Vishnu Deo Sai have expressed condolences, he said.

CM Sai has announced a financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of each of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to the injured.

This assistance will be additional to the ex-gratia provided by the district administration in such cases.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Senjo M R© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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