Shimla: Shaken up by the loss of 39 human lives in the Kullu-Ani bus accident on Thursday, the government today instituted a four member panel to probe the cause of the accident and to suggest stringent provisions in the law for punishing the errant driver.
Talking to reporters’ transport minister GS Bali said that the driver, who had jumped from the bus before it took a fatal plunge into Beas River on Thursday had been nabbed by the police.
Prima facie holding gross human negligence as the cause of the accident of the overloaded private bus, the minister put the official
toll of those who died at 39 and left another 18 injured.
A four member panel, consisting of SDM Kullu, regional transport manager Kullu, a mechanical engineer of Himachal Roadways (HRTC) and a police inspector would conduct a probe into the accident cause.
“At first glance it appears to be a case of gross negligent driving because the bus was moving on Kullu – Mandi National Highway stretch which is a pretty broad road,” said the minister.
The transport authorities have been asked to evoke criminal proceedings as well as violations under motor vehicle act for the gross negligence where witnesses are claiming that the driver was not only driving rashly but was also talking on the mobile phone before
abandoning the bus, said Bali.
To contain accidents, the government has decided to strictly enforce Section 22/B of Motor Vehicle Act, making it mandatory for drivers to undergo annual medical tests for drivers of all public carriers, HRTC buses, contract vehicles and other state carriers. Use of mobile phone while driving would be strictly prohibited and those found in violations could face cancellation of their driving licenses, said the minister.