A seven-year-old boy suffered grave head and spine injuries when a speeding autorickshaw ran him down on Foreshore Road, around 400m from Avani Riverside Mall in Howrah, on Tuesday evening.
The auto driver sped away towards Howrah station after hitting Class II student Manmohan Singh, who writhed in pain on the road until a few youths came to the unconscious boy’s aid and took him to Howrah District Hospital, about a kilometre away.
Doctors at the hospital said the boy was hit with such force that the impact had triggered internal haemorrhage in his head and chest. They later referred him to Calcutta Medical College and Hospital.
“He is in a coma and his condition is extremely critical. Our hospital is not equipped with tools needed to conduct necessary emergency tests. So we suggested that he be shifted to CMCH,” said a doctor at the Howrah hospital.
Police said the incident happened around 5.45pm when Manmohan, a resident of nearby Kazipara, was walking along the pavement-less road.
The speeding auto, carrying passengers towards the mall from the Howrah Maidan side, hit the boy from behind while it allegedly tried to overtake a motorbike from the left.
Witnesses said the boy was flung a few metres away but the auto driver did not bother to stop.
“The boy was unconscious and bleeding from the ears and the sides of his head. There were no policemen in sight. My friends and I put him in a taxi and took him to Howrah District Hospital,” said Krishnendu Roy, a medical representative and resident of the area. Roy and his friends were also walking along the road when they saw the accident.
Krishenendu said he tried to note down the autorickshaw’s registration number but it vanished before he could do so.
The police said autos from the Howrah Maidan-Kazipara and Howrah Maidan-Avani Riverside Mall routes ply on this stretch. “We checked the auto stands after the accident. The offender or his auto could not be traced. We are keeping our eyes open… the driver will be caught,” said an officer of Shibpur police station.
Foreshore Road doesn’t have footpaths on either side, forcing pedestrians to walk on the congested carriageway. Traffic remains busy throughout the day while rash driving is common.
The area was sparsely populated until a real estate boom in the ’90s changed the landscape into a jumble of multi-storey buildings and business establishments.