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SUV mows maize tillers on highway

A speeding SUV ran over three persons who were drying and packing maize grains on the state highway (Kushela-Jogbani road) off Champawati village on Sunday evening. Two others were injured in the incident.

The deceased, identified as Sobha Devi (40), Hema Devi (34) and Pooja Kumar (12), were residents of Parasmani village under Sarsi police station of the district, 310km northeast of Patna.

Sobha and Hema died on the spot, while Pooja died on way to hospital in Purnea.

Two persons, who suffered injuries, have been identified as Namo Pandit (32) and Dodhai Pandit (28), residents of Parasmani village. They are undergoing treatment at Purnea Sadar hospital.

Having encroached upon more than half the state highway, the trio were packing maize grains in sacks on the road around 8pm on Sunday. The SUV ran them over and managed to flee the spot.

During summer, residents of various localities in Purnea, Araria, Kishanganj and Katihar districts thresh maize crops, dry grains and pack them into sacks on the heated road.

Confirming the incident, station house officer of Sarsi police station Mukesh Kumar told The Telegraph: “The spot where the SUV driver ran over the trio is L-shaped. Two were killed on the spot, while the third died on way to hospital.”

Mukesh said: “We have lodged a case. The bodies were handed over to the families after post-mortem at Purnea Sadar hospital on Monday. Angry residents blocked the Jogbani-Kurshela road for more than three hours on Sunday night but it hardly made any impact on the light traffic. Later, when they realised their guilt that the SUV ran over as the trio had encroached on the road, they lifted the blockade.”

The Telegraph had earlier reported about the maize mess on NH-57 on May 14. The situation on other roads is almost the same. Accidents are quite common in different parts of Purnea division, including Purnea, Araria, Kishanganj and Katihar districts, though the intensity of the accident is low. Threshing and drying of maize crops would continue till end-June.

Sarsi resident Awadhesh Rai said: “Farmers are bound to thresh, dry and pack their crops on the road, as it needs heated surface. The state government has not made any arrangements for us yet. We keep tabs on how to encroach minimal part of the road so as not to affect the traffic. We would take precaution to avert any such incident.”


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