The Volvo bus involved in two accidents; (right) the damaged kiosk. Pictures by Amit Datta
An AC Volvo being steered by an untrained driver on the instruction of police rammed into a traffic signal booth on Sunday morning shortly after the actual driver of the bus had been arrested for running over a motorcyclist on Bridge No. 4 of the Park Circus connector.
Sheikh Shakil, the 35-year-old motorcyclist, was declared brought dead at a hospital.
V. Solomon Nesakumar, deputy commissioner of police (traffic), said the police needed to remove the bus immediately so that a mob that had gathered did not set it on fire. In the absence of a wrecker, a local youth who drives commercial vehicles was told to drive the bus to Karaya police station, about 500 metres away.
He had barely driven 100 metres when the bus rammed into a traffic signal kiosk while executing a right turn at the point where Dilkhusa Street joins the connector.
Around 11.30am, the Santragachhi-bound Volvo bus on the Airport-Santragachhi route had knocked down Sheikh Shakil on Bridge No. 4. Shakil was declared brought dead at Calcutta National Medical College and Hospital.
According to a witness, the bus was moving very fast when it knocked down Shakil, a trader who lived on Tiljala Road. “The motorcyclist was riding down Bridge No. 4 and the bus was just behind him. The speeding bus hit the motorcycle and the rider was flung off,” said Wali Ahmed, a resident of Talbagan.
“Close to 300 people gathered at the spot and started pelting stones. There were no passengers so nobody was injured but the bus was damaged. Some protesters tried to beat up the driver and set the bus on fire,” said an officer of Karaya police station.
The driver was arrested and since the vehicle was blocking the carriageway, the cops instructed a local youth to drive the bus to Karaya police station. The youth rammed the bus into an enclosure of the traffic police just below the footbridge on the Darga Road-Tiljala Road crossing and smashed a portion of the base of the light control kiosk.
“Luckily, nobody was injured,” said an officer at Karaya police station.
Drivers of Volvo buses receive a special month-long training to operate the vehicle because “it is more technology-driven”, said an official of the state’s transport department.