Residents set tyres on fire to block Bara-Timken Road in Sidhgora on Sunday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
A 50-year-old man died when his car hit a stationary trailer on the busy but dark Bara-Timken road at Sidhgora in the steel city in the small hours of Sunday, triggering vociferous protests and a 90-minute road blockade on the accident site in the morning.
The fatal mishap occurred near Timken Company around 1am. The deceased was identified as Anil Kumar Singh, an employee of a city-based travel agency.
According to officer-in-charge (OC) of Sidhgora police station Ganesh Kumar Singh, the victim was on his way back home at Bagun Nagar after having dropped a passenger at Tatanagar station around midnight.
“Singh was driving at full speed and hit a stationary trailer,” the OC said.
But Singh was not wholly at fault because the stretch was dark due to defunct lamp-posts. The victim apparently failed to notice the trailer that was parked on the roadside and failed to slam brakes, straightaway ramming into the standing vehicle.
So severe was the impact of the accident that the car was reduced to a mangled heap of iron. Singh’s head got smashed and he died on the spot.
The police retrieved the body from the car and sent it to MGM Medical College mortuary for post-mortem.
As the news of the mishap spread, hundreds of residents from the adjoining Bagun Nagar poured out on to the streets from early morning.
By 9am, residents had set up a blockade, demanding adequate compensation for the kin of the deceased and proper illumination of the Bara-Timken road.
The agitators claimed that the area had turned into a mishap magnet due to trailers, which were parked almost all the time, especially after sundown. The poor lighting arrangements made the stretch riskier.
As a result of the blockade, vehicular movement remained suspended on the busy road for 90 minutes. Senior police officers led by deputy superintendent of police (city) K.N. Chowdhury rushed to the spot to pacify the agitators.
The stir was lifted around 10.30am only after Chowdhury assured the protesters that the police would try and get their demands fulfilled.
OC Singh, however, blamed the victim for the fatal mishap.“No trailer driver was at fault. It’s a usual practice that they park their vehicles on the roadside as they wait to receive their industrial consignment for transportation to various destinations,” Singh said. The OC pointed out that that deceased had been driving at a breakneck speed. “A mishap was waiting-to-happen. No one can be held responsible for his death.”