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Tragedy in safety week

Calcutta, Jan. 15: On the third day of the Road Safety Week today, a minibus crushed three persons to death against the pavement barrier at the Park Street-Chowringhee crossing.

The death toll in road accidents since Monday has now touched seven.

The deaths occurred 48 hours after police commissioner Sujoy Chakraborty’s look-before-you-cross sermon to “educated” Calcuttans with a “mental block”.

Brothers Sanatan Pal, 45, and Nitai, 35, and an unidentified bystander were standing on the road — not on the pavement —waiting to cross it.

Two were injured — one of them a passenger whom the driver had ticked off a few minutes before the accident for daring to “teach him how to drive” — and rushed to SSKM Hospital.

The mishap, according to injured passenger Yasin Sheikh, occurred when the driver was trying to overtake several other buses from the left — as he was doing through the entire journey.

The driver’s aim was to reach first the large number of people waiting a few metres ahead of the southern gateway of the Park Street Metro Railway station — a few metres from the designated bus stop.

Traffic police constables and sergeants at the spot — one of the busiest intersections in the city — were apparently doing nothing to stop the people or the drivers from flouting traffic rules.

The deaths have turned the spotlight on how traffic and pedestrian management are largely left unattended, even at busy intersections.

Officials later admitted that a “mad rush” for passengers — and an equally “crazy rush” among passengers to catch the first bus in — was a daily occurrence at the spot.

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