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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Death strikes on school route

Sakshi Sharma, 8, stepped out of her apartment complex at Teghoria around 7.40 am, to head for school. She was accompanied by brother Mriganka, 6, and their domestic help, Ramakant, 32.

Sakshi did not reach school on Monday. A Calcutta Tramways Company (CTC) bus on the Lauhati-Esplanade route veered out of control in front of Poddar Vihar housing estate, mowing down Sakshi, Ramakant and another pedestrian, 16-year-old Gautam Patra.

Mriganka sustained serious injuries and was admitted to a nursing home, where he is in a critical condition.

'The accident occurred around 7.40 am when the bus (WB04-A1959) was travelling at high speed from the airport towards Lauhati, near Rajarhat,' said Subhankar Chatterjee, sub-divisional police officer, Barasat.

'As the bus reached the housing estate area, the driver lost control and swerved to the left,' the officer added.

'Sakshi, who lived in the housing complex, was just coming out of the gate along with her brother and domestic help,' recounted S. Chakraborty, a witness and resident of the complex.

'The bus suddenly swerved out of control and hit Sakshi and Gautam,' added Chakraborty.

Sakshi and Gautam were flung away on impact with the speeding bus, which then knocked down Ramakant who fell into a roadside canal, nearly five feet from where he had been standing.

The vehicle too fell into the water. Police recovered Ramakant's body once the bus was pulled out.

The witness also claimed that Sakshi had not died instantaneously.

'The security guards of the complex and I picked her and Gautam up and brought them inside. I then shouted for help, but no one came forward at the time. She died around 20 minutes later,' said Chakraborty.

Residents of the area blocked VIP Road for about 20 minutes, demanding that traffic police be posted in the area. Vehicular traffic on the route was thrown out of gear for about three hours following the accident.

Driver Khokon Mondol, in his 30s, was arrested late on Monday. He told police that the bus in front had stopped suddenly to pick up passengers, forcing him to slam the brakes and swerve.

The CTC bus, which has been sent for mechanical fitness testing, was on the road for less than four years, Mondol, who suffered rib injuries, told police.

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