Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma Subramanian on Sunday, 1 October, visited Coonoor and provided financial assistance of ₹50,000 each to those injured in a bus accident a day earlier.
The Tamil Nadu government on Saturday announced ex gratia of ₹2 lakh each to the relatives of the deceased and ₹50,000 to the injured.
Meanwhile, the death toll of the accident, when a contract veered off the road and plunged 50 feet into a ravine near Marappalam, rose to nine on Sunday.
The deceased have been identified as Kowsalya (29), Jaya (40), Babykala (42), Thangam (50), Muppidathi (67), Nithin Kanna (15), Elango (64), Murugesan (65) and Padmarani (58). Padmarani’s body was found at the scene on Sunday, according to local reports.
The bus was returning to Tenkasi after taking the passengers to Kochi and Guruvayur in Kerala, and Udhagamandalam in the Nilgiris.
Subramanian reporters after visiting the injured in Coonoor that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin assigned Tourism Minister K Ramachandran to oversee the search and rescue operations soon after the accident.
The minister said 32 people were being treated for injuries at the Coonoor Government Hospital. Another two, who sustained grievous injuries — including multiple fractures — have been admitted to the Medical College Hospital in Coimbatore.
“Of the two people in the Coimbatore hospital, one person is critically injured but both are stable. I will personally talk to the dean of the Ooty government hospital to get an update on the injured,” Subramanian said.
The grievously injured would be provided assistance of ₹1 lakh each, PTI reported.
“We are also in the process of sending the bodies back to their native place,” he added. Subramanian also paid floral tributes to the deceased.
On Saturday, a group of 60 people were returning to Tenkasi from Udhagamandalam when the bus fell into the ravine after the driver had lost control of the vehicle.
According to the local sources, the bus swerved off the road while navigating the 9th hairpin curve on the Coonoor-Mettupalayam Ghat Road.
Locals, police, and fire and rescue services personnel rushed to the scene and launched a search and rescue operation.
Rescue workers used ropes to get down to the vehicle. The minister praised the 108 ambulance service for its prompt response.
“Rescue officials retrieved eight bodies yesterday. Another body was found on Sunday,” Subramanian said.
Fifteen people with minor injuries were lodged in various relief camps in Ooty. They were being counselled.
President, PM condole deaths
President Droupadi Murmu said she was distressed to learn about the accident. She extended condolences to the grieving families. She also wished for the speedy recovery of those injured.
“The loss of lives in a tragic bus accident in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu is deeply distressing. I extend my deepest condolences to the bereaved families and pray for the speedy recovery of the injured,” Murmu said in a post on X.
The loss of lives in a tragic bus accident in Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu is deeply distressing. I extend my deepest condolences to the bereaved families and pray for the speedy recovery of the injured.
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) October 1, 2023
Expressing deep concern, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also announced an ex gratia payment of ₹2 lakh each from the PM’s National Relief Fund to the families of the deceased.
Pained by the loss of lives due to a bus accident near Coonoor in Nilgiris district, Tamil Nadu. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. I pray that the injured recover soon. An ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh from PMNRF would be given to the next of kin of each deceased. Those…
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) October 1, 2023