Initial reports had put the death toll at 16.
The bus was on its way to Kullu from Shainsher when it fell into the gorge at a hairpin bend near Jangla village around 8.30 am, the officials said.
Dead Jhablu Devi’s brother-in-law Tej Prakash alleged callous attitude on the part of the authorities in rescuing the victims.
“It took almost three hours to take Jhablu Devi from the accident site to the hospital. Had the administration acted swiftly, some lives could have been saved,” he said.
The dead have been identified as Tanu, Prem Chand, Fateh Chand, Anita Devi, Susheel Kumar, Khim Dasi, Roshi Devi, Parvati Devi, Jhablu Devi, Amit Kumar Rajak, Aaksh and Rakhi Maya.
Injured Mahender Singh, Sanjay Kumar and bus conductor Gopal have been admitted to the Kullu regional hospital for treatment.
The president and the prime minister have condoled the loss of lives in the accident.
President Ram Nath Kovind said he was distressed to learn about the death of students and other people in the accident.
Condoling the loss of lives, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Rs 2 lakh each for the next of kin of those who died. The injured will be given Rs 50,000 each, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a tweet.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur also expressed grief over the tragic bus accident.
Thakur said a magisterial inquiry has been ordered and the Kullu ADM will probe the whole incident.
The CM said Rs 5 lakh will be provided to the next of the kin of the each dead whereas Rs 15,000 will be provided as immediate relief to the each injured. He said free treatment will also be given to the injured persons.
Thakur thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for approving an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the kin of the each dead and Rs 50,000 for the each injured.
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