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Rescue operation continues

Special Correspondent

SILCHAR, June 17: Since there is serious mismatch between the number of passengers enlisted by the Arhans Tours and Travels and the number of dead and injured rescued by the District Emergency Operation Centre (DEOC) of Cachar, the operation to find out if more bodies are lying under the wreckage of the bus is continuing. As reported earlier on the basis of the list made available, only the full address of 4 passengers were given, while those of others contact numbers were furnished.

 After 24 hours of the rescue operation carried out by the joint team of BSF, SDRF, police and VDP assisted by local people, full addresses of 18 dead passengers and 9 injured have been collected by the DEOC. Among the dead, 5 persons are from different places of Brahmaputra Valley, 6 others are from Barak Valley, while 1 each is from West Bengal, Tripura, Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar, Tamil du, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. 7 dead bodies are yet to be identified. All the 9 injured are undergoing treatment in different hospitals in Meghalaya.

Their addresses have been collected and their family members informed. Some of the dead bodies have been handed over to their family members. For other dead bodies, the arrival of their relatives is awaited, DEOC source said. The rescue operation team has found huge number of bags of betel-nuts stacked inside the bus, once again establishing the fact of overloading and one of the causes of accidents. Till now, the exact number of passengers on board could not be confirmed. Most unfortute, as it happens, all the valuables and cash from the dead and injured have been taken away by the unscrupulous elements in the jungles, taking advantage of the darkness of night and lack of electricity in the area.

 The district administration of Cachar is investigating all angles in order to find out the exact cause of accident. As has been found out from earlier accidents, some of the causes leading to tragedy have been overloading, excess passengers beyond the permissible limit, inebriated drivers, rash driving as well as other factors. Technical aspects like the sustaibility of the bus involved in the mishap, failure of steering wheels, the efficiency of both the drivers, their license along with the valid permit of Arhans Tours and Travels will also be covered under the ambit of investigation.

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Ankur Kalita