The mangled Mahindra Scorpio after it hit a divider on Durgapur Expressway and was flung onto the other flank on Sunday afternoon; (right) Rabindra Bharati official Amit Mukherjee. Picture by Mukul Rahman
A Calcutta-based doctor and a senior university official were among three members of two related families fatally injured in an accident on Durgapur Expressway, about 108km from the city, on Sunday afternoon.
Gargi Das Roy, an anaesthetist with NRS Medical College and Hospital, her mother Sumitra Das and brother-in-law Amit Mukherjee, a Rabindra Bharati employee, died when the Mahindra Scorpio they were travelling in hit the road divider and was flung onto the other flank.
The accident occurred around 1pm. Six others in the vehicle, which was taking the families to a temple near Maithon in Jharkhand, were injured in the accident, police said.
The vehicle was trying to overtake a lorry from the right at Becharhat, on the outskirts of Burdwan town, when the driver lost control because of a cycle in front. “The cycle suddenly came in front of the car from the other lane. The driver slammed the brakes but the vehicle hit the road divider,” recounted Bikash Roy, who witnessed the accident.
Such was the impact of the Scorpio hitting the divider at speed that the car ended up on the Calcutta-bound lane. “It rolled over on that side of the road, stopping beside a roadside ditch,” Bikash said.
The windows were rolled up as the air-conditioner was running and the passengers had to be extricated from the mangled mass of metal through shattered glass.
Everyone in the vehicle was taken to a private nursing home nearby, where doctors declared three of the family dead.
Amit, a 50-year-old resident of Hedua in north Calcutta, was a senior official of the accounts department at Rabindra Bharati University. His wife Maitreyee, who works with a voluntary organisation, suffered head and spinal cord injuries in the accident. The couple’s twin daughters, Sohini and Sahana, were injured too.
“Sahana’s condition is critical. She is unconscious because of a head injury,” an official at Burdwan police station said.
Gargi, 50, was a resident of Salt Lake. Her husband Debashish Roy, a gynaecologist with a state-run hospital, was also in the car and suffered head injuries. The couple’s daughter Preetha, a 20-year-old MBBS student at NRS Medical College and Hospital, also suffered multiple injuries.
All the injured were brought back to Calcutta late on Sunday.
The families were on their way to Kalyaneswari temple, near Maithon, and had set off from the Roys’ home in Salt Lake’s AA Block around 10.30am. They had hired the Scorpio and were scheduled to return to the city on Monday.
News of the tragedy reached the Mukherjee family’s house in Hedua around 3.30pm. Amit’s 70-year old father Madan Mohan has been in shock since, family friends said.
“He has switched off the television and is not taking any calls. He is waiting by the window for his son to return,” said Alibha Mukhopadhyay, a neighbour.
Madan Mohan’s wife Geeta, in her late 60s, hadn’t been told about the accident until late on Sunday. Amit and Maitreyee’s twin daughters are in Class XI of a girls’ school in north Calcutta.
Neighbours said Amit was a popular man in the neighbourhood and the working president of the local Durga Puja committee. “He could always be counted on to come forward and help people when required,” said Ayan Dutta, who lives close by.
The Roy family’s Salt Lake house was locked on Sunday evening and none of their neighbours had till then heard about the accident.
“I saw them leaving in the morning. I asked them where they were going and Debashish said they were going to the Kalyaneswari temple,” said Jayanta Roy Burman, a doctor friend living next door.
The Roys had been residents of AA Block for 10 years.