NEW DELHI, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday expressed grief over the loss of lives in a deadly road accident in the eastern state of West Bengal.
The accident took place early Wednesday in Dhupguri city of Jalpaiguri district, about 645 km north of Kolkata, the capital city of West Bengal, due to a collision involving several vehicles.
At least 13 people were killed and 18 others injured, some of them critically, in the accident.
"The road accident in Dhupguri in Jalpaiguri is extremely anguishing. In this time of sadness, prayers with the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon," Modi wrote on the social media platform Twitter.
"From the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF), Ex-gratia of INR 200,000 (2,731 U.S. dollars) each would be given to the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to the accident in West Bengal. INR 50,000 (682 U.S. dollars) each would be given to those injured," he said.
Police blamed the road accident on poor visibility.
"There was a collision between the vehicles due to low visibility in the area that led to an accident killing 13 and injuring 18 others," a police official said. "First a vehicle collided head-on with a truck loaded with boulders, then the truck driver lost control and hit two other vehicles."
Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also condoled the bereaved families in the accident.
This is the second accident over the past 24 hours in India. On Tuesday at least 15 migrant labourers were overrun by a truck in the western state of Gujarat. According to the police, the labourers were sleeping then on a pavement next to a road.
On Monday the Indian government launched a national road safety month in order to raise public awareness of road safety to reduce road accidents in India.
According to federal minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari, every day an average 415 people die in India from road accidents and 70 percent of the deaths are in the age group of 18-45 years.
The minister said the federal government has set a goal that before 2025, road accidents and related deaths should be brought down by 50 percent with a widespread participation by the Indian people in the efforts.
Deadly road accidents are common in India, which are often caused by overloading, the bad condition of roads and reckless driving.