Nashik, Jan 21 (UNI) Maharashtra Public Works Minister and Nashik Guardian Minister Chhagan Bhujbal today announced that the Government will pay a compensation of Rs one lakh each to the next of kin of those killed in the bus accident in this district last night.
''The Government will also pay the injured in the range of Rs 5,000 to Rs 50,000 depending upon the nature of the injury, Mr Bhujbal said after visiting the injured at the Nashik Civil hospital.
Meanwhile, the bus driver, who has also sustained minor injuries, has been arrested by the police. Mr Bhujbal said strict action will be taken against those responsible for the accident.
Two more passengers have been rushed to the civil hospital today and the total number of injured persons has now been put at 41.
Thirty-nine bus passengers lost their lives in the accident including 20 women, six children and 13 men.
The accident occured when the driver of a private luxury bus lost control over the vehicle while taking a U-turn on Ganesh Ghat which fell into a 450-500 feet deep gorge. The bus was on its way back to Mumbai after visiting the Saptashringi temple near Vani town in Dindori taluka of this district.
The tourist bus, owned by Lucky Travels in Mumbai, had left the metropolis on Friday. After visiting the Sai Baba temple at Shirdi and Shanishignapur in Ahmednagar district, the bus had reached Vani in Nashik district yesterday.
There were two buses of the same travel company on the same tour. The other bus, incidentally, had passed the accident spot some time before the ill-fated bus reached there.
Residents of Goldari, Abhona, Vani, Daregaon, Saptashringi Garh, and Chikhali, village defence squad members, and passengers from the other bus helped extensively in the rescue operations.
UNI IAS/AAA/GB MAZ SP BD1435