Jorhat, June 9: Road communication between Upper and lower Assam was disrupted for more than six hours today following a NH37 blockade by labourers of Teok tea estate at Teok Jagduar area here.
The labourers were protesting the death of a 10-year-old girl of the tea estate. She was hit by a speeding vehicle on the highway in the wee hours today.
Work at the tea estate has also been hit as labourers refused to work and came out in large numbers and squatted on the road to block traffic. “Since activities at tea estates start early in the morning, work here was completely paralysed today,” a garden employee said.
Hundreds of vehicles, including Upper Assam-bound night buses, were stranded on both sides of the highway as protesters refused to allow the vehicles to pass. Passengers of night buses had a harrowing time.
The labourers alleged that despite police being informed soon after the incident, they came an hour late and this gave ample time to the driver of the vehicle to flee.
The labourers demanded the arrest of the errant driver and action taken against the police personnel of Teok police station who did not respond promptly to the complaint.
The labourers also demanded compensation from the district administration for the next of the kin of the deceased.
The situation came under control only after Jorhat deputy commissioner R.C. Jain and superintendent of police Sanjukta Parasor rushed to the spot and assured the protesters that necessary action would be taken.
An officer of the rank of an additional superintendent of police and a magistrate had earlier failed to pacify the protesters.
Police sources said the victim, Moromi Rajowari, was on her way to tuition classes around 5am when she was hit by a speeding truck on the highway near the tea estate, killing her on the spot. The vehicle immediately fled from the place.
The police said though eyewitness claimed that a mini-truck had hit the child, the exact vehicle type could not be ascertained. “There were very few people at the site of the incident as it was very early in the morning. Some people say that it was a Tata Magic vehicle but some others say that it was a mini truck. Our investigations are on to identify the vehicle,” a police official at Teok police station said.