The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Death zone on NH 31 claims two

Sevoke (10th Mile), Aug. 6: Two business partners of a Calcutta-based private construction company died on the spot when their Scorpio collided head-on with a bus on NH 31 near here this morning.

The driver of the bus and two passengers were injured and had to be shifted to North Bengal Medical College and Hospital. They were, however, released later.

The spot located at 10th Mile near the boundary of Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, 21 km from Siliguri, is known to be an accident-prone zone.

The crash took place around 8 am, when the black Scorpio (WB 74H 6438), which was being driven by one of the associates, had a head-on collision with a Kalimpong-bound minibus (WB 73A 3434) coming from New Jalpaiguri railway station.

The two partners of Esquire Construction Company — Tapan Niyogi (40) of Matigara and Nirmal Bhattacharya (50) of Regent Park, Calcutta — had no chance of surviving, the impact was so great.

A family friend of both, Hiralal Pandey, who is also a resident of Matigara, said the company had intentions of purchasing stones from Sevoke. With this in mind, Niyogi and Bhattacharya had left for Sevoke at 6.30 am in their car. The accident took place while they were returning to Siliguri, Pandey said.

Eyewitnesses said both the vehicles were moving at high speed and collided at a bend in the accident-prone stretch. The impact sent the Scorpio cartwheeling, before it came to a mangled rest on its roof some distance away. The bus also lay on its side with its windshield and windowpanes smashed.

The conductor of the bus, Gajanand Sharma, who narrowly escaped a major injury, said the driver of the bus had tried to stop the vehicle but failed. He said there were 13 passengers in the bus at the time of the mishap, most of whom sustained minor injuries.

A resident of the area, Govind Roka, said at least two to three accidents take place at the same spot every year, causing death to many. “But the police are always reluctant to do something to avert these accidents. When an incident like this takes place, they rush to the spot and carry out routine activities. But they have never taken any steps to control the speed of vehicles in this accident-prone area,” he said.

Other residents of the area as well as roadside shopkeepers echoed similar sentiments.

The sub-inspector of the Sevoke outpost D.N. Saha said police were helpless unless people stopped driving recklessly. “It is not possible on our part to keep a constant eye on vehicles to see whether they are following the speed limit or not.”

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