Utkal Express Survivors Forced to Pay for Bus Tickets Despite UP Govt’s Promise of Free Travel
New Delhi, August 20: The survivors of the Utkal Express Accident in Khatauli alleged they had to pay for the bus tickets arranged by Uttar Pradesh government to leave them to Haridwar. Uttar Pradesh Government had promised the survivors free travel to their destinations.
Nihal Singh, one of the survivors, told Hindustan Times that the driver stopped the bus in a secluded area just outside Khatauli and forced them to “buy tickets”.
However, Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) managing director Guru Prasad contested the claim, reiterating that the travel was meant to be free. “There is no question of anyone asking for money and if someone does that they should report it to us at once,” he said.
The assertion made by the Managing Director were refuted by the passengers. One of them said, “We were too shaken up and scared. We decided to pay as it was night and eight people in the group were injured. We paid Rs 125 each to the driver.”
Over 100 passengers have been injured and 24 were dead in the unfortunate accident. Many injured persons were discharged after providing first aid assistance. Injured passengers have been admitted to Meerut and Muzaffarnagar Hospitals.
Earlier Ministry of Railways had ordered an inquiry into the matter. Member of Traffic Railway Board, Mohammad Jamshed had said,”It was an unfortunate incident, around 20 people died and 92 were injured. As per the directions of Railway Ministry, strict action will be taken against those found guilty prima facie. We have manuals for every work that is being carried out therefore we will go through those manuals and see if any rules and guidelines were broken.”