16 die in Uttar Pradesh bus tragedy (Lead)

May 19th, 2012 - 3:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, May 19 (IANS) At least 16 people returning from a religious congregation were killed and over a dozen injured when a private bus in which they were travelling rammed into a stationary truck and caught fire in Uttar Pradesh’s Bahraich district, police said Saturday.

The pilgrims were returning from the Ghazi Miyan ki Dargah in Bahraich after attending an Urs. The bus ploughed into the truck at Tilwarai, some 130 km from here, around midnight Friday.

The passengers were on their way to Ajmer in Rajasthan.

Officials told IANS that while 16 charred bodies had been sent for autopsy, the disaster site suggested the magnitude of the tragedy could be much higher as the bus was packed to capacity.

“We have been told that there were 78 people in the bus. While many injured have been admitted to different hospitals, we fear the toll may go up,” said a home department official.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has announced an ex-gratia of Rs.1 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 compensation for those seriously injured, said Labour Minister Waqar Ahmad.

He said the cost of treating the injured people will be met by the government. Two of the injured were referred to Lucknow as their condition deteriorated.

Police said it was too early to ascertain the exact reasons that caused the tragedy but they suspected that the impact of the collision led to a spark and some LPG cylinders kept in the bus exploded.

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