Himachal to probe accident that killed 39



Shimla: Blaming gross human negligence behind the bus accident in Himachal Pradesh Wednesday that claimed 39 lives, state Transport Minister GS Bali Friday announced to constitute a four-member probe panel into the incident.

"The probe panel will submit its report within one month," he told reporters here.

Bali said negligent driving probably was the cause of the accident as the driver, who jumped off the bus just before it plunged into the Beas river near Kullu town Wednesday, was talking on his mobile phone.

"We have made it mandatory for annual medical fitness of the drivers of all passenger transport vehicles and drivers found using mobile phones while driving will lose their licence," the minister said.

Bali said passengers have been authorised to stop any driver who is driving rashly or using his mobile phone while driving.

"A few people are missing. The toll could go up further," he added about the accident.

He said bus Driver Anush Kumar has been arrested. "The road condition where the accident occurred was perfect. There was no other reason for the accident except negligent driving," the minister said.

Police records say over 800 people die every year in the state in road accidents.

Police have identified 556 accident-prone spots, including 210 on national highways.

IANS