Reckless driving, overloading led to Odisha bus accident

Bhubaneswar:A day after a bus accident in Odisha's Angul district left 19 people dead, an official on Saturday said overloading and reckless driving led to the mishap.

According to Transport Commissioner Chandrasekhar Kumar, the accident took place due to the carelessness of the driver who was talking on his mobile phone while driving the vehicle.

Kumar said the Angul Regional Transport Office (RTO) has submitted a preliminary report to the department.

At least 19 persons were killed and over 30 injured when a bus fell off a bridge in Athamalik area of Angul district on Friday.

Kumar said the state government was trying to bring down the number of road accidents.

A meeting of bus and truck owners is scheduled for Monday in which overloading and over-speeding would be discussed.

"Besides, a decision would be taken to ban drunk driving and talking on mobile phones while driving," he said.

Meanwhile, a four-member team led by the Athmalik sub-collector submitted a report to the district collector after a preliminary investigation.

"The driver lost control of the steering wheel while talking on mobile phone," district collector Anil Samal said, citing the report.

Samal said the bus had got all clearances including the fitness certificate to operate on the route.

The police have launched a search operation to nab the bus driver who is absconding after the mishap.

"Both the bus owner and the driver are absconding. We can get the exact reason of the accident after the driver is nabbed," said Samal.

The Athmallik college students' union on Saturday observed a shutdown in the town demanding adequate compensation to the victims.

The students demanded Rs 10 lakh compensation for the family members of each deceased, and arrest of the bus driver.