Nine people were electrocuted to death and 22 were injured when a bus caught fire as it came in contact with a power transmission line in the Golanthara area of Odisha's Ganjam district on Sunday, officials said.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed condolences and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the immediate family of the deceased.
The chief minister also announced free medical treatment will be provided to the injured, an official from the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said.
The injured were admitted to MKCG Medical College and Hospital in Berhampur. Five of them were shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack.
The incident occurred near Mandarajpur in Odisha. The bus was headed to Chikarada from Jangalpadu with around 40 passengers.
The passengers were on their way to attend a marriage negotiation ceremony, Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO), Berhampur Sadar, Jayant Kumar Mohapatra said.
The bus caught fire after coming in contact with an 11 KV power transmission line, leading to the deaths and injuries.
State Transport Minister Padmanabha Behera said a thorough inquiry will be conducted into the incident and strict action will be taken against the guilty.
Union Petroleum and Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan expressed shock over the mishap and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.
Seeking a thorough probe into the tragedy, Mr Pradhan said, concrete steps must be taken to prevent recurrence of such incidents.
Local people along with the fire service and police personnel swung into action immediately after the accident.
Chief Fire Officer (CFO) Sukant Sethi said, the blaze has been extinguished and all those inside the vehicle have been rescued and shifted to a hospital after disconnecting the power supply in the transmission line.
Preliminary information suggested that the luggage carrier of the bus came in contact with the transmission line along the road when the driver tried to give way to a two-wheeler on the narrow path, he said.
The incident will be thoroughly investigated to ascertain the circumstances in which the accident took place, Mr Sethi said.