At least 22 people were killed and more than 70 were left injured in two separate road accidents in Mandi and Kangra districts of Himachal Pradesh.

12 were killed and 43 others were injured when a Himachal Road Transport Corporation bus fell into a deep gorge near Joginder Nagar in Mandi district, about 200 km from state capital Shimla.

The incident occurred late on Saturday night when the bus, carrying 56 passengers, was on its way to Rekong Peo in tribal Kinnaur district from Dharamsala in Kangra district, they said. Nine persons were killed on the spot, one died on the way to a hospital while two others succumbed to injuries in the hospital, police said.Among the injured, condition of 18 is said to be critical.

The mangled remains of in ill-fated bus which fell into a gorge near Jogindernagar in Mandi on Saturday night.

Police said six deceased have been identified while identities of six others, including an infant, are yet to be ascertained. The accident reportedly took place when the driver lost control over the vehicle while trying to give way to another bus on the road, which had been dug up. It was the last bus in the evening for Rekong Peo enroute to Palampur, Jogindernagar, Mandi and Sundernagar, and large number of passengers were from these areas.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today met the injured people at the Government Medical College, Tanda (Kangra) and announced ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of each deceased, Rs 10,000 to seriously injured passengers and Rs 5000 to passengers with minor injuries. Chief Minister also directed the officials concerned to give free treatment to injured persons.

Women mourn the death of a relative who died in a bus accident at Gallu near Jogindernagar on Saturday night

In a separate incident, 10 persons died and 35 got injured when a private tourist bus from Amritsar, on its way to Jawalaji shrine, skidded off the road and fell into a gorge near Daliara in Kangra district, on Sunday.

“The accident happened at around 2.30 pm. There were 40 passengers on the bus. There were 17 women, three children. The driver failed to negotiate a sharp curve and lost control of the vehicle,” said Ritesh Chauhan DC Kangra told the Indian Express. He said an immediate relief of Rs 25,000 has been announced for the kin of the deceased and Rs 5,000 for the seriously injured.

The authorities have identified seven among the dead and their families in Amritsar are being informed. The injured have been shifted to Dr Rajendra Prasad Medical College hospital in Tanda, Kangra district. The Deputy Commissioner Mandi Sandeep Kadam has ordered a magisterial probe into the accident.

(With inputs from PTI)

(Feature image source: Twitter| Kolkata 24x7)