At least 29 people were killed near Agra in Uttar Pradesh on Monday when the bus they were travelling in skidded off the Yamuna Expressway and fell into a canal, News18 reported. The bus belonged to the Uttar Pradesh State Roadways Transport Corporation and was travelling from Lucknow to Delhi, according to India Today.
There were 44 passengers on the bus. The Uttar Pradesh Police said at least 16 people were injured in the accident and taken to a hospital.
Agra District Magistrate NG Ravi Kumar said it appeared the driver was sleepy, News18 reported. “Till now 29 people have been declared dead and a rescue operations is underway,” Kumar said. “The bus fell from 50 feet into a gorge.”
Chief Minister Adityanath directed the district magistrate and the senior superintendent of police to provide medical attention to the injured, ANI reported. The chief minister has also announced Rs 5 lakh compensation for the families of those who died in the accident.
Adityanath also set up an inquiry committee to probe the cause of the accident, PTI reported. The committee, comprising transport commissioner, divisional commissioner and inspector general Agra range, will submit its report within 24 hours. The committee will also recommend measures to avoid such incidents in the future, said Additional Chief Secretary (Information) Awanish Awasthi.
Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said in the Parliament that Yamuna Expressway was built by the Uttar Pradesh government and the Central government has no role in this, ANI reported. He added that the state government has been instructed to investigate the matter.
Director General of Police OP Singh has been directed to supervise relief and rescue work. The police said all senior officers were present at the accident spot.
President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed their condolences. “Sad to learn about tragic bus accident on the Yamuna Expressway in Agra, Uttar Pradesh,” the president said. “State government taking all steps to help affected people. My condolences to bereaved families; wishing an early recovery to those injured.”
Modi said the state government and the local administration are providing all assistance. “Pained by the bus accident in Agra, Uttar Pradesh,” he said. “Condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones. I pray that those injured recover fast.”
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh expressed his condolences, and said he had spoken to Adityanath. “He has sent Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma and minister Swantra Dev Singh to the scene of the incident,” Singh tweeted.
“The BJP’s regional chief Pankaj Singh has also reached the spot of the accident,” Rajnath Singh added.