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14 members of marriage party killed in Jalpaiguri road accident

14 members of marriage party killed in Jalpaiguri road accident
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Darjeeling: Fourteen persons, including four children, were killed and 18 others injured in an accident in Jalpaiguri on Tuesday night. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have expressed condolences. Both the state and Centre have announced ex-gratia for the families of the deceased. The Bengal government will bear the cost of treatment of the injured.

Five vehicles of a marriage party were on their way to Dhupguri with two ahead of the other three. At around 9:30 pm when the three vehicles reached an area near the Jaldhaka bridge, owing to the dense fog, the vehicles unknowingly crossed over to the wrong side of the four-lane highway. The vehicle in front (a Magic van) had a head-on collision with a stone-laden dumper truck coming from the other side. The other two (Omni and Alto) hit the body of the truck which skid and overturned, trapping the two vehicles underneath. Stones spilled over the vehicles.

"Police and local residents pulled out the trapped passengers buried underneath the stone heap from the vehicles," stated Sumant Roy, ASP, Jalpaiguri.

Most died on the spot. The injured were rushed to Jalpaiguri Super Specialty Hospital.

As the news spread, public representatives, district administration and police top brass rushed to the spot. Ministers Gautam Deb, Rabindranath Ghosh and Aroop Biswas closely monitored the situation.

On Wednesday morning, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted: "Saddened at the loss of lives because of a bus accident in Dhupguri. Condolences to the bereaved families. I pray for speedy recovery of those injured."

"We have been visiting the injured and the families of the deceased. The Chief Minister has announced ex-gratia of Rs 2.5 lakh to the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to the families of those injured. The state will bear the treatment expenses. We are talking to the local public representatives to work out means of supporting the families," stated Tourism minister Gautam Deb.

PWD minister Aroop Biswas rushed from Kolkata. "The state government is with the families of those affected. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been closely monitoring the situation. We have been visiting the families of the victims," he said.

The Prime Minister also expressed grief over the Dhupguri accident and wished speedy recovery of the injured. The PMO announced that an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each to the injured will be given from the PMRF.

The injured include Rajesh Mishra (40 years), Renu Mishra (36), Anita Singha (32), Priyanka Singha (17), Ritika Singha (6), Laxmi Singha Roy (16), Amal Roy (32), Kushal Roy (4), Bikram Roy (2), Koyel Burman (14), Mamoni Sarkar (23), Biraj Sarkar (3), Menoka Roy (40). Pushpa Roy (30) who was critically injured later died at the NBMCH. The deceased are from families residing in Chorchurabhandar, Maynaguri, Damdim and Kranti.

On January 18, a wedding ceremony had been solemnised between Jaya Roy of Ranirhat and Bikash Roy of Votepara, Dhupguri. On Tuesday, the bride's family members and friends were going to attend a wedding party at the groom's house in Dhupguri when the accident occurred.

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