A police officer attends a phone call near the wrecked bus, subject to an accident on a remote mountain road in the Doda area, about 200 kilometres southeast of the Srinagar. Image Credit: AFP

Srinagar: 36 people were killed and nearly two dozen injured when a passenger bus slid off a Himalayan highway and rolled down a steep slope onto another road in Kashmir on Wednesday, officials said.

The 42-seater bus was on the way to southern Jammu city from Kishtwar town when it veered off the road and fell down about 660 feet (200 meters) on an older road in the mountainous region, said Harvinder Singh, a civil administrator.

Residents and authorities rushed to the scene and a rescue operation was launched.

Singh said the injured were taken to nearby health facilities. At least 10 in critical condition were transported to hospital in Jammu.

The exact cause of the crash was not immediately known.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives in the tragic bus accident and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 200,000 from the PM's National Relief Fund to the next of the kin of each of deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured.

"The bus accident in Doda, Jammu and Kashmir is distressing. My condolences to the families who have lost their near and dear ones. I pray that the injured recover at the earliest," the Office of the PM posted on X.

Union Minister Jitendra Singh confirmed in a post on X about the 36 deaths and said that out the injured, six people were said to be in a critical condition.