Imphal: Koshil Maring, a Kangpokpi resident, was looking forward to Christmas celebrations with great anticipation. He was in the local market, buying meat until he received a phone call.

Christmas now seems far and of little importance, as he waits outside Raj Medicity, a private hospital in Imphal, hoping and praying his daughter recovers fully from the accident earlier in the day, which left seven dead and over 30 injured.

Koshi, his wife and two others hired a vehicle from Kangpokpi district to Imphal after they heard the dreadful news: their eldest daughter, Kenning Maring and others met with an accident on their way towards Khoupum for an annual study tour.

“Since we were home, we don’t know how the accident happened. We got the news about the incident on social media. My daughter is not very comfortable travelling in a bus but since the teacher says that everyone will go, we sent her as well,” Koshil told EastMojo.

“We don’t know the exact site, so we were searching by asking people around. But when we were about to reach the spot, we got information that my daughter and others were brought to Imphal. That’s why we rushed back here, he said.

According to Koshil, there were five children from the Maring community in the fatal accident, however, one managed to escape unhurt.

The boy was travelling in another bus, he said.

Elsewhere, other parents were equally distraught. Inao Devi was seen carrying a blanket outside the hospital lobby, hoping to get a glimpse of her daughter Sanabam Gelly so that she could be reassured that she had been brought in by an ambulance.

“My daughter left home at around 7 am and she refused to take breakfast saying that they will have it on their way,” said Inao Devi as she fixed her gaze towards the emergency centre.

Across the hospital, parents were seen rushing as ambulances brought injured children, hoping that their child was not in a bad condition.

For some parents, however, the news was much worse.

Earlier today, an ill-fated bus carrying class 11 students (female) of Thambalnu Higher Secondary School, Yairipok in Imphal East met with a road accident along the Bishnupur-Khoupum (old Cachar road).

According to Kangjam Nimal Singh, a student, travelling in another bus, there were two buses, one each for males and females, for the school study tour heading towards Khoupum in the Noney district.

“Our bus (male) was travelling behind them. But, soon after we saw the accident, we stopped our bus and instead of taking the road, we all rushed down from where the bus fell towards the site and rescued them,” said Kangjam Nimal to EastMojo.

Those male students and locals of Khoupum were the first responders to the site, as per sources.

According to chief minister N Biren Singh, as soon as the information of the incident, a team of SDRF, medical team, ministers and MLAs were rushed to the spot to coordinate the rescue operation.

CM Biren also rushed to Raj Medicity where at least 26 injured have been admitted, of which six are currently in ICU. Another 14 others are at RIMS for further treatment.

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Singh said the government would provide an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the family of deceased persons and financial assistance of Rs 1 lakh and Rs 50,000 to those seriously injured and those with minor injuries respectively.

So far, as per sources, seven dead bodies from the accident have been deposited at the JNIMS morgue.

The CM expressed his deepest condolences and shared grief with the bereaved family and further appealed to the public to follow traffic rules.

Also Read | Manipur: Following Noney incident, govt bans school excursions till Jan 10

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