NEWS Ker govt to HC, Sabarimala pilgrimage bus accident, Govt to HC on on MVD’s action to reduce road accidents

Ker govt to HC, Sabarimala pilgrimage bus accident, Govt to HC on on MVD's action to reduce road accidents

Kochi: The state government informed the Kerala High Court on Saturday that the Department of Motor Vehicles has informed drivers transporting pilgrims to Sabarimara about the road conditions in the ghats and safety practices to be followed to avoid the recent incident. The unfortunate accident that claimed the life of a girl.

The government filed a special session before the bench of Justices Anil K Narendran and PG Ajithkumar in view of the accident on Friday when a bus carrying pilgrims traveled from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, to Kerala Sabarimala, Pathanamthitta District, State, fell off the road and fell into a ditch.

A 10-year-old girl died in the incident and 13 others were injured.

When the judge discussed the issue, the government said two accidents involving Sabarimala pilgrims had occurred about a month ago on November 18 and 19.

One of them was on November 19 when a bus carrying pilgrims from Sabarimala from Andhra Pradesh overturned near Raha in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district, killing as many as 43 people, including a boy. People get hurt.

In a separate incident, Sabarimala pilgrims were also injured, government lawyers told the court.

The state government also said it was complying with the court’s Nov. 19 directive to the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) enforcement division to raise awareness among drivers of vehicles carrying pilgrims about road conditions and the safety practices to follow.

Taking into account the government’s comments, the court has scheduled the matter for further hearing on December 21, when reports from concerned law enforcement officers regarding recent motor vehicle accidents are expected to be recorded.

An officer from Erumely Police Station said on Friday the accident occurred between 3pm and 3.30pm when the vehicle was attempting to negotiate a dangerous hairpin bend there that is prone to accidents.

The official said it believed a mechanical failure of the minibus was the cause of the accident, but this has not been confirmed.

During the special court session, the government said the driver lost control of the vehicle, hit a side barrier and fell into a ditch.

According to the police, there were 20 pilgrims on board the minibus, including five children.

Another issue dealt with by the court was based on a news report that pilgrims had difficulty boarding KSRTC vehicles at Pamba-Triveni.

Pilgrims issued group tickets were not allowed to ride on the same bus, according to news reports.

On the issue, the government said it would deploy sufficient police at boarding points to ensure such incidents do not happen and regulate the number of passengers per bus.

With this in mind, the court directed the District Collector of Pathanamthitta, after consultation with other stakeholders, to develop a mechanism at the KSRTC boarding point in Pamba “to ensure that pilgrims, including those who have booked group tickets, do not placed in difficulty”.

As directed, the bench listed the matter for a further hearing on December 19.

The annual two-month pilgrimage season begins on November 17, and the 41-day Mandala Puja festival will be held on December 27 at the famous Ayyappa Swamy shrine.

Thereafter, the shrine will reopen on December 30 for the Makaravilakku pilgrimage which will end on January 14, 2023. The shrine will close on January 20, 2023, ending the pilgrimage season.

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