The mangled remains of the SUV in Malda on Tuesday. Picture by Surajit Roy
Malda, Feb. 11: Sixteen wedding guests returning to Karandighi in North Dinajpur from Malda early this morning died when their SUV crashed head on with a jute-laden truck on NH34 in Old Malda.
Fifteen of the deceased are men. With them was a 13-year-old boy, who also died. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each for the families of the deceased.
“The groom’s relatives set off around 6am today after the late-night wedding. The crash took place about 10km from the bride’s home. The driver of the truck, Jitendra Singh, has been arrested and the truck seized,” a source at Old Malda police station said.
Satyajit Banerjee, the deputy inspector-general of police Malda range, said: “The accident took place on the lane adjacent to the one the SUV should have been on. The NH34 stretch where the crash happened is in good shape. We have to find out why the SUV was on the wrong lane. We have information that the driver was intoxicated and had not slept.”
According to Malda police superintendent Kalyan Mukherjee, who arrived at the accident spot soon after the incident, the crash took place around 6.30am. “The local people brought out the victims from the crushed vehicle. Thirteen of them died on the spot. Three others died soon after they were admitted to the Malda Medical College and Hospital. A post-mortem has been conducted on the bodies and they have been handed over to the families.”
While the police did not say what caused the accident, Bablu Rajvor, an uncle of the groom, claimed that the driver of the SUV, Mansur Alam, 35, was inebriated. “The driver had been drinking along with the others. The driver also did not get to sleep,” he said.
Rajvor said the deceased were mostly masons and house painters.
The police said that 62 people, including the groom, Satyam Rajvor, 30, had set off in five SUVs from Roskhowa Mangonbhita village in Karandighi yesterday morning. They had arrived at the bride’s house yesterday afternoon. Karandighi is 80km from here.
“The chief minister has announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the next of kin of each victim,” said Krishnendu.
The deceased have been identified as Rajkumar Rajvor, 45, Gautam Rajvor, 32, Ranjan Rajvor, 30, Sunil Rajvor, 20, Ganesh Rajvor, 50, Gopichandra Rajvor, 13, Achin Rajvor, 30, Chanchal Rajvor, 28, Subhas Rajvor, 45, Santosh Rajvor, 26, Achintya Rajvor, 24, Kalu Roy, 26, Suresh Roy, 50, Gopal Roy, 30, Subhas Ram Roy, 40 and Mansur Alam, 35, the driver of the car.
Two persons died in an accident when their van crashed into a stationary truck on NH34 in Gajole around 4am on Tuesday. The accident spot is around 30km from Malda.