DHADING, June 3: Family members of the 34 victims who lost their lives in a deadly bus accident in Dhading on October 28, 2017 have not been provided any relief yet.
A passenger bus (registration number Na 6 Kha 1467) coming to Kathmandu from Hetauda skidded of the road and plunged into the Trishuli River at Ghatbesi of Dhading. A total of 34 people lost their lives and 16 more were injured in the mishap. Even months after the accident, the family members of the deceased and injured are yet to receive the relief, compensation and the insurance amount.
The insurance of the vehicle which belonged to Sandesh Yatayat Pvt Ltd had expired six months before the accident. When the insurance company, Siddhartha Insurance, informed the District Administration Office (DAO) that the transport company won't be able to pay the insurance claims to the victims, DAO arrested the owner of the vehicle Sabina Tuladhar Mukhiya and put her in custody. As the owner of Sandesh Yatayat Sushil Mukhiya could not be contacted, DAO filed a case against his wife Sabina Tuladhar. Meanwhile, Santosh Chaudhary, driver of the bus is serving a jail term in District prison of Dhading.
As per the Transport Management Act 1993, if the vehicle does not have a third party insurance coverage, the owner of the vehicle is responsible for the compensation. DAO, Dhading, urged vehicle owner Sabina Tuladhar to pay the compensation to the deceased and the injured. But Sabina has been refusing to pay the compensation.
Sabina had filed a writ petition at the High Court (HC), Patan, demanding that the insurance company is responsible for the compensation instead of her. However, on January 1, 2018, the court scrapped her petition and ruled that she has to pay the compensation.Sabina then filed a writ petition at the District Court (DC) claiming that she has been kept under judicial custody without any proof and also stated that she is not responsible for the compensation. But the DC too scrapped her writ petition and upheld the verdict of DAO and High Court.At last she filed a writ petition at the Supreme Court (SC), following which she was released from custody. According to SC, the documents used for sending her to jail were not legal and fair. "We had to release her as per the order of SC," said Chief District Officer Bhagirath Pandey, adding, "We will be recording the statements of the defendants again."As per the transport management law, the party concerned has to pay a compensation of Rs 500,000 to the family members of each of the deceased. The kin of the victims have expressed disappointment as the owner of the vehicle was released from jail without paying them the compensation. They have knocked the door of various authorities for compensation. But still nothing much has been done.