Imphal: At least nine persons including seven students, a teacher and a warden of Thambalnu Higher Secondary School, Yairipok, Imphal East have passed away in a road mishap during its study tour to Khoupum Dam on Wednesday.
More than 35 persons were injured, of which five were reportedly critical. Of the seven deceased persons, five died on spot.
The incident took place at Nungsai Tubung village, Noney district. The road accident occurred near Leimatak, between Bishnupur and Khoupum (Tongjei Maril Road / Old Cachar Road) near Longsai Tubung village under under Khoupum police station, Noney district .It is said that the incident took place when two buses carrying students of Thambalnu school were heading towards Khoupum side.
Manipur governor La. Ganesan expressed that he was deeply shocked to hear the sad news of a bus accident of an Annual Educational Excursion of Thambalnu school, Yairipok.
He said medical teams were on the way to join the rescue operation and the injured students were shifted to different hospitals of the state.
He conveyed his deepest condolences to the bereaved family members. He prayed to God for peace to the departed souls and strength to the bereaved family members to bear these profound sorrows. He also prays to God for speedy recovery of those injured students.
Chief minister N. Biren Singh expressed his deepest condolence over the demise of the students, warden and teacher.
Biren said that the bus, which met the accident, was carrying 47 persons, including students and staff of Thambalnu Higher Secondary School, an annual study tour to Khoupum.
He informed that the state government after discussion amongst Cabinet ministers decided to provide ex-gratia of Rs 5 Lakh to the family of deceased persons. Financial assistance of Rs 1 Lakh and Rs 50,000 will be provided to the seriously injured and those with minor injury respectively, he added. The government has also taken the decision to bear the expenses of treatment of the injured persons being admitted at different hospitals, he added.
He appreciated the swift response of villagers near the incident site to rescue the victims. The government has been able to initiate rescue action timely as the villagers had uploaded about the incident in social media in no time, he added. He informed that the injured persons were brought to the Bishnupur district hospital at first, after which they were brought to hospitals at Imphal including Raj Medicity, Regional Institute of Medical Sciences and Advanced Hospital.
To avoid such incidents in future, Biren Singh cautioned the public to take utmost care while driving along hill areas, as the visibility becomes lower during the winter season due to foggy weather. Appealing the schools to avoid study tour or excursion during winter season specially on December and January, he informed that the Education department has issued an order directing all the Principals/Headmasters/ Headmistresses of all Government/Government Aided/Private Unaided Schools in the State not to organise school excursions till January 10, 2023 to avoid any untoward incidents.
The chief minister also urged all the drivers of passenger vehicles plying in the state not to drive beyond the speed limit, adding that passenger vehicles could be seen driving at high speed to get passengers. Speaking on many school vans carrying students beyond capacity, he informed that verification will be initiated to check such school vans and action will be taken up against those drivers carrying students beyond capacity like cancelling of Driving Licence. Action will also be taken up against those schools where such van drivers are transporting students, he added.
The chief minister visited Raj Medicity, Regional Institute of Medical Sciences and Advanced Hospital to see the condition of the injured persons. He also visited the mortuary of Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) where the bodies of the deceased were kept and consoled the families of deceased persons.
Chief of Longsai Village Kabidon Gonmei blamed the state government for not repairing the road despite several complaint made to the state government including to chief minister.
Speaking to reporters at Manipur Press Club in Imphal the chief condoled the demise and extended prayer for speedy recovery for the injured students.
Kabidon alleged that the government has been neglecting the construction of the 5-6 kilometre downhill road stretch of Laimaton to Leimatak, which has caused many more similar accidents in the past.
He informed that four labourers from Imphal and a water supply worker from the village died in a similar accident that occurred at the said stretch of road.
Despite the villagers’ request to the state government for the construction of the road, the government remained as a mute spectator, he added.