The driver of the bus that touched an 11-KV live wire at Mendarajpur in Odisha’s Ganjam district on February 9, causing the death of 10 persons, was arrested on Tuesday.
The accused, Gagan Bihari Nayak, had jumped out of the bus when he realised that the top of the vehicle had come in contact with a high-voltage power cable. He fled the spot leaving the passengers to their fate. Additional Superintendent of Police, Berhampur, Pravat Routray said personnel at Golanthara police station were able to track down the driver on Sunday.
The Ganjam Regional Transport Office (RTO) said the bus had no permit to ply on the route on which the incident occurred. The RTO directed the Golanthara police to register a case against the owner of the bus and cancelled the driving licence of the bus driver.
A letter dated July 4, 2018, sent by power distribution company SOUTHCO, addressed to the Executive Engineer of the Ganjam Rural Development Department, had suggested several measures to avert a possible tragedy by spending approximately ₹4 lakh.
In the letter, SOUTHCO personnel mentioned road widening work from Mendarajpur to Dankalpadu taken up by the RDD without intimating SOUTHCO. Due to this work, the existing 11-KV cables, along with poles, had come to the middle of the road, threatening lives. The discom had requested the RDD to take up shifting of the power cables, poles and a sub-station, from the middle of road to the side.
SOUTHCO estimated that the RDD had to spend about ₹4,22,000 for the cable and pole shifting.
The discom officials allege that despite several intimations, the department did not deposit the money for the shifting work to be taken up.