Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi has expressed her distress and profound grief at the tragic bus accident near Rampur, Himachal Pradesh, in which 20 people have lost their lives.
Conveying her deepest condolences to the families of the victims, Gandhi asked the Himachal Pradesh Government to take immediate relief and rescue measures.
She also asked the Pradesh Congress Committee and Congress workers to contribute in providing assistance to the families of the bereaved.
The death toll is expected to rise as injuries to some of the passengers are said to be serious.
The private bus was proceeding towards Solan from Reckong Peo in Kinnaur district when it skidded off the road and rolled down into a 300 metre gorge at Khaneri near Rampur in Shimla district on Thursday morning.
According to sources, around 40 people were on board the private bus when the accident took place and it's feared that the death toll could rise further.
Bus driver and conductor were among the injured.
Sources said that bus departed from Reckong Peo early in the morning and when it reached near Khaneri hospital, the driver lost control and the vehicle rolled down into the gorge at 9 a.m.
Rescue teams comprising officials from police and district administration reached the spot and started the rescue operations.
Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh directed the authorities to undertake necessary rescue and rehabilitation measures.