Of the 51 passengers who died as a bus fell into a canal on Tuesday in Sidhi district of Madhya Pradesh, 22 were students and most of them from nursing background travelling to Satna to appear for an exam. Vibha Prajapati, a survivor, said that had her examination centre been in Sidhi, instead of Satna, her friends might have survived.
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The nursing student, who was saved by local residents, said that the bus was going at high speed in order to reach the exam centre on time. Apart from students, the passengers included women and elderly. Narrating the incident, Prajapati said that as the bus was going down, the driver shouted, "save your lives, if you can". Soon people were seen struggling to swim in the the canal while she herself started drowning in water. However, she was rescued by the local residents who reached the accident spot.
The exams for Railways, NTPC and Nursing jobs were being held in Satna and Rewa and the bus was mostly filled with students. According to media reports, the driver changed the route of the bus, on the request of the students, in order to reach the examination centre on time. However, the change of route became the reason for the fatal accident.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed grief at the 'horrific' bus accident and approved an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each for the next of families of those who lost their lives.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also declared a separate ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the family of the deceased.