Murshidabad: The death toll rising by leap and bounds since the fatal incident took place on Monday morning in Murshidabad district. At least 40 people were killed after a packed bus crashed through the railing of a bridge and fell into a canal in West Bengal.
The accident occurred at Balirghat under the Daulatabad police station area around 6 am when the North Bengal State Transport Corporation (NBSTC) bus was going from Shikarpur in Nadia district to Malda, police said.
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee has chaired an emergency meeting with transport minister Suvendu Adhikary , CMOH and others administrative officials.
Alleging delay in rescue operations, angry locals set a police vehicle on fire and vandalized them. Police lobbed tear gas shells and also resorted to lathicharge to control the situation.
Terming the incident as “sad”, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia for the next of the kin of the deceased.
Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari along with other officials rushed to the spot on a helicopter on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s instructions.
“The water was too deep, it was difficult to lift the bus using a small crane, so initially there was a little delay but police administration and our local people took responsibility and initiated rescue operation as fast as they could. Big and hydraulic cranes have reached the spot. A rescue operation is on at full speed. Chief Minister is personally keeping a watch,” said Adhikari.
So far, four people have been rescued while a few swam to safety themselves. Several rescue boats have been pressed into action.