Orissa bus fire toll rises to 5

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Bhopal, Jan 22 (UNI) The toll has gone up to five in the fire that broke out at Bhubaneswar in a private bus from Madhya Pradesh.

''A dozen passengers are hospitalised here and four are serious.

The deceased were identified as Ladu Bai, conductor Kailashchandra, helper Kapil Sharma, Bheeram Singh and Ratanlal. The driver is safe.

Bystanders displayed presence of mind by rapidly pulling passengers out of the burning vehicle,'' the Orissa capital's Badagada Police Station House Officer Bhavanikant Pattnaik told UNI over telephone today.

The bus was carrying more than 60 pilgrims from Rajgarh district.

They reached Puri on January 19 and were returning via Bhubaneswar.

The cause of the blaze was yet to be ascertained.

Madhya Pradesh Culture and Public Relations Minister Lakshmikant Sharma, who is in charge of Rajgarh and airdashed to Bhubaneswar with officials in a government plane, said that adequate arrangements were made for treatment.

''Bodies and next of kin have been sent off from Bhubaneswar. The Orissa government provided the expected assistance. Ex gratia of Rs 50,000 each was provided to the deceased's next of kin and Rs 10,000 to the injured. An official team headed by a deputy collector is camping at Bhubaneswar,'' he added.

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