March 15: Eleven people, including four women and three children, died and 50 others were injured in two road accidents in Purulia and East Midnapore districts.
A Maruti car, carrying Calcutta Telephones deputy general manager of finance Jyoti Kumar, collided with a truck at Tinglabar in the Panskura police station limits around 1.45 pm today. “The car was crushed underneath the truck and Kumar, his mother, wife, their five-month-old girl, and the driver died on the spot,” East Midnapore superintendent of police Anuj Kumar said.
The collision occurred when the driver of the Maruti, headed for Jamshedpur, sped past a vehicle and hit the truck coming from the opposite direction.
The only survivor, Kumar’s eight-year-old daughter, is fighting for life in the hospital where she was rushed by residents. Kumar’s wife was declared dead at the Tamluk district hospital.
Late last night in Purulia, a truck full of wedding guests fell off the road on its side, killing six persons and injuring 49. The accident occurred between Painja and Bhurkura villages on the Kasipur-Sonathuli road, about 40 km east of Purulia.
The WBK-5873 truck was carrying around 70 men, women and children — mostly of the groom’s family from Layabali village — to Jiara when its rear tyres bumped over a heap of road construction material, spun around and landed on its side in a ditch 5 foot below the surface of the road.
Two women, two children and the truck’s helper, who were all travelling in the cabin, died on the spot. Another person in the vehicle’s rear died on the way to Kasipur block hospital.
Of the injured, 31 were rushed to the Bankura Sammelani Medical college hospital, 52 km from Kasipur. The condition of five is said to be serious. The truck driver, Kamal, fled the spot.
“The truck must have been travelling at high speed for such an accident to have happened,” said officials at Kasipur police station. The truck was in poor condition, too.
The prime reason, however, was the heap of stone and sand on the road. By this morning, labourers had flattened the heap.
Uttam Ray of Painja was among the first to reach the site. “I was at home when I heard an unnatural noise a little after 10 pm,” the youth said.
“My friends and I rushed towards the direction of the noise. As we came close to the truck, we heard several people …and the sound of crying. We saw the truck in the torchlight.” By then, about 200 villagers had turned up at the spot.
A crushed bonnet, glass shards, wood splinters and mufflers of victims hanging from the truck were the remains of the accident left at the site this morning.
The accident, however, did not prevent the marriage of Rupnath Murmu, who was travelling in a jeep ahead of the truck, with Savitri Besra of Jiara. “After hearing of the accident, we kept the ceremony to a bare minimum,” said Durga Murmu, Rupnath’s grandfather. “We have cancelled the boubhath.”
The bodies of Holudi Hansda and daughter Parabi, Deepali Hansda and mother Sadmoni, truck helper Sohodeb Hansda and Nayan Chandra Murmu, Rupnath’s relative, have been taken to Purulia Sadar Hospital for autopsy.
Rupnath’s uncle Chand Mandi, who suffered a shoulder injury, said: “Everything happened so suddenly. Before I knew what was happening, I lost consciousness”.