Dadeldhura, March 2

Police said the jeep accident at Ratakatha cliff of Duhu Rural Municipality, along the Darchula-Tinkar road section last night had resulted in human casualties with the jeep driver plying the vehicle forcefully on a road where vehicles with commuters were banned.

The jeep, headed for Duhu from Darchula headquarters Khalanga, had plunged into the Mahakali River at 8:00pm. Eleven passengers died on the spot. The jeep driver was critically injured.  The accident site is seven kilometres from Khalanga.

Inspector Rabindra Kathayat of Darchula District Police Office said the road leading to the accident site was most perilous.  “Vehicles with commuters have been banned because the road lacks width and the slope is steep,” said Inspector Kathayat.  He said the accident occurred as the driver plied the jeep tricking the police at night.

Darchula District Transport Committee had banned vehicles from plying along the Ratakatha road section in 2017. The DAO had issued permission to ply only empty jeeps and tractors along the road. “Vehicles operating in the day time make passengers get off at Ratakatha and board them after crossing the dangerous area,” said Kathayat.

Some vehicles have been ferrying passengers along the perilous road section by evading the police.

Following the accident, Darchula police have completely banned vehicles on the Ratakatha road section from today. “We have increased vigilance. Those found plying vehicles will be punished,” police said.

Meanwhile, identities of all eleven passengers killed in the accident were ascertained today. Kalyan Singh Badal, 41,  Nirmala Badal, 17, ParuliDhami, 35, Ammara Bam, 55, Aayusha Bam, 7, Dhan Bahdaur Bam, 24, Gomati Bam, 45, Dhana Bam, 71, Manmati Bam, 53, Pratap Bahadur Chand, 60 and Sinya Bam, 21 were killed in the jeep plunge. The critically injured driver Dipak Singh Dhami was sent to India’s Pithauragadh for treatment, police said.