A landslide at Kakdighat, around 40 km from Nainital, resulted in a huge boulder falling on top of a passenger bus carrying pilgrims, killing 5 people and leaving 11 injured on Monday afternoon. Those with minor injuries were taken to a nearby government hospital, while two critically injured people were admitted in the Dr Sushila Tiwari Government Medical College and Hospital at Haldwani.
Pramod Kumar, sub-divisional magistrate of Nainital, who reached the site of the incident along with the disaster management team, said, “The tragedy occurred on National Highway-87 while the bus was on its way to Padampur from Jageshwar in Almora. All passengers were pilgrims from Kotdwar in Pauri Garhwal district who were returning after a trip to the Jageshwar temple.”
The victims were identified as Rani Negi, 44, Godavari Devi, 42, Sumitra Bisht, 55, Janeshwari Devi, 58, and Rukma Devi, 46.
Locals in the area said that widening of the Nainital-Almora highway had been going on since over a month and JCBs as well as other construction equipment were lying on the road, making the area precarious to drive in. “The stretch between Jageshwar and Nanital has several blind turns which can prove fatal in case of landslides or careless driving,” said Manish Sah, a resident of Garampani near Kakdighat.
Meanwhile, CM Trivendra Singh Rawat, expressing grief over the incident, extended his condolences to the bereaved. The state government also announced Rs 50,000 as compensation for next of kin of the deceased.