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25 pilgrims from MP killed as Yamunotri-bound bus falls into gorge in Uttarkashi

UTTARKASHI (Uttarakhand), June 6: Twenty-five pilgrims were killed and three were critically injured when their bus going to Yamunotri temple fell into a gorge in Uttarkashi on Sunday evening. The yatris on a Char Dham tour were coming from Madhya Pradesh.

The bus fell into a 150-foot deep gorge near Rikhavu Khadd, 2 km from Damta, under Purola police station, on NH-94. Damta in Uttarkashi district is 150 km from State Capital Dehra Dun.

The injured have been rushed to the nearby medical facilities. Rescue workers were still looking for missing passengers. The death toll may go up, police said. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said rescue teams are on the scene. Local administration and SDRF teams were also engaged in the rescue work.

The bus was carrying around 30 pilgrims from Panna district in Madhya Pradesh, it was reported. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said arrangements were being made for the treatment of the injured and bringing back the bodies of those deceased.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh from the PM’s National Relief Fund each for the families of those killed in the accident. The injured will receive Rs 50,000.

“The news of the bus accident in Uttarakhand is very painful. I express my condolences to those who have lost their loved ones. Under the supervision of the state government, the local administration is engaged in all possible assistance on the spot,” the Prime Minister said.

On May 27, three pilgrims from Maharashtra were killed and 10 were injured when the vehicle in which they were travelling fell into a deep gorge in Uttarkashi district.

This year so far within a month of the yatra over hundred pilgrims have died due to mishaps and illnesses. The health authorities have warned that pilgrims above 50 years of age must undergo medical checkup before going on the pilgrimage as mostly elderly people develop cardiac and pulmonary problems due to the high altitude and the physical strain due to the difficult terrain.

A million Hindus visit the holy Char Dham shrines (Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath) in the Himalayan State of Uttarakhand during the pilgrim season of May to October. Roads along hilly terrain with hundreds of feet deep gorges on sides pose the danger of frequent accidents leading to heavy casualties.

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