Residents block the road near Birsa Chowk after a city bus killed 25-year-old Reena Mahli on Wednesday. Telegraph picture
A young secretariat employee, riding her new scooter to work, was crushed to death under the wheels of a lawbreaking city bus in the heart of the capital on Wednesday.
This is the second fatal accident involving the city bus in Ranchi. The driver of the killer vehicle is absconding.
Police said the victim had been identified as 25-year-old Reena Mahli, a resident of Road No.-4 in Krishnapuri, Chutia. She was on her way to Project Building in Dhurwa around 9.30am when the accident took place near Birsa Chowk in Doranda police station area.
An eyewitness said the rear wheels of the bus mowed down Mahli’s scooter and killed her on the spot.
“The speeding bus first overtook her from the right and then suddenly swerved to the left to pick up a passenger from an non-designated stop. The young woman lost control and her scooter was caught under the left rear wheels of the bus. The wheels then ran over her stomach. She died then and there. It all happened so fast,” the local resident, who witnessed the bloodspill, said on the condition of anonymity.
After the accident, people chased the bus driver but he managed to run away, leaving the bus behind. “Police reached in 10 minutes and sent the body to RIMS for post-mortem,” a bystander said.
A mob, meanwhile, damaged windscreens of two-three buses, causing traffic disruption for sometime.
Doranda officer-in-charge Fozail Ahmed confirmed that the victim had died before police reached the spot. “We have seized the bus and are looking for its driver,” he said, adding that a case of reckless driving had been registered.
Police said the victim was the daughter of a loader at Birsa Munda Airport.
Sources at Project Building said Mahli worked as a clerk in the social welfare department and was single. She had bought the scooter barely 15 days ago so that she could be at work on time instead of depending on Ranchi’s unreliable public transport — the strike-plagued city buses and reckless auto-rickshaws.
In October last year, a cyclist had been run over near Dangratoli Chowk.
A traffic policeman conceded that it was difficult to make city buses and diesel auto-rickshaws halt only at designated stops, which were again few and at great distances. “Buses stop every time and anywhere a commuter beckons them. They routinely violate the law, leading to accidents,” he said.
Traffic police station officer in charge K.K. Jha too admitted the problem. “Efforts are made to regulate city bus and auto halts. But, drivers hardly co-operate. Besides, strong unions (who launch protests at the slightest opportunity) back these drivers. However, we are serious about enforcing traffic regulations,” he said.
Dhananjay Singh, the manager of Ask Security — agency that provides manpower (drivers and conductors) for the buses managed by JTDC, claimed the woman got killed while trying to overtake the bus. “Not having the required number of designated stops is a problem for us. But, today’s case was different. The lady was at fault. She was overtaking the bus,” he said.
JTDC managing director Sunil Kumar expressed his inability to comment because he is on leave and out of station. Manager (administration) Alok Prasad claimed one “Mr Siddhanath” dealt with city bus operation matters and he too was on leave.