By Sundeep Pouranik
The deaths of 50 people in Sidhi district of Madhya Pradesh when a bus fell into the Bansagar canal has raised many questions. The bus was scheduled to take a route which had been witnessing jams for several days. As a result, the bus was diverted to the canal route on Tuesday where it plunged into the water.
Will the government be able to show the courage to take quick action against the culprits or will it be a mere routine affair?
The bus travelling from Sidhi to Satna district fell into the Bansagar canal on Tuesday. Most of the passengers were going to appear for an exam for a job. Till now the bodies of 50 people have been recovered from the canal.
The big question is why was the bus travelling through the Sarda Patan village route. This bus usually took the Chuhiya Valley route but for the last three-four days, it diverted to the canal route due to frequent traffic jams.
The pictures of the Chuhiya Valley Marg from Sidhi to Satna are coming out now and show the appalling condition of the road. There are huge pits and vehicles are not able to run smoothly on the road. This is the reason that there are jams on this route and the same was happening for the last few days. Was there no plan to repair the road and if the plan was there and the government had approved the money, then why was the road not repaired.
Who has the contract for road construction? If the road gets jammed then what is the transport department, police, construction department and the various agencies doing. Why are vehicles taking other routes? This is the big question?
Locals say that due to the poor condition of the road, there are hundreds of vehicles involved in transporting sand etc., which pass through this route and have the patronage of politicians along with government machinery.
The picture of Govind Singh Rajput, the Madhya Pradesh Transport minister, attending a feast on the day of the accident has gone viral on social media. Congress media cell general secretary K.K. Mishra tweeted this picture and wrote, “Sidhi bus accident .. administration is counting bodies, CM’s sentiments are being politically sentimental! Responsible Transport Minister Govind Singh Rajput enjoys food at home of his fellow minister and is laughing !! Heights of shamelessness ?? Will CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan say something?”
The Transport Minister said that the bus permit has been revoked, investigation would be done and strict action would be taken against the culprits. Prima facie it seems to be the fault of the bus driver.
On joining the feast at another minister’s residence, Rajput says,”There were many other ministers besides me present there. The Congress does politics on the pretext of an accident, I strongly condemn it.”
Former Chief Minister and Congress state President Kamal Nath said, “Transport mafia is active in Madhya Pradesh. On the state highways, on roads, without fitness, without permits, without insurance, over-capacity of passengers like animals, without a speed governor, hundreds of buses are racing at a fast pace giving open invitations to accidents.”
He added, “These buses do not have any means of safety for the passengers nor are they following all the prescribed rules. They are not being regularly checked nor are they compliant to rules, we wake up only after an accident and later face the same situation. This is the reason why accidents like Sidhi come to light. There is a need to take strict action against these unbridled transport mafia, they should be brought under the laws, then only we can curb accidents like the one in Sidhi district.”