Traffic on Diamond Harbour Road was disrupted for more than two hours on Monday morning after an accident in Bishnupur, on the southern fringes of the city. A 40-year old man was killed and 18 people, including some women and children, were injured. Three of the injured were transferred from a local health centre to M.R. Bangur Hospital after their condition turned critical. The victim was identified as Radhanath Mondal.
The accident occurred at about 9 am. A Trekker, carrying about 20 passengers, overturned when one of its front wheels came off. It was overtaking a private bus at the time, and skidded into a ditch. The Trekker was on its way from Bishnupur to Thakurpukur.
The victim, Mondal, was a CPM activist, police said. A resident of Mukundapur, in Thakurpukur, he was returning home from the party office at Bishnupur, where he went on Sunday for the panchayat election. After the incident, residents came rushing to the spot, rescued the trapped persons and sent them to a local hospital, where Mondal succumbed to his injuries.
A local resident said most accidents occur on the stretch because the Trekker drivers don’t bother about traffic rules. “Most of them don’t even have a licence. Whenever caught, they buy their freedom by bribing the local police. Moreover, they habitually carry passengers beyond the stipulated capacity,” he said.
Some residents blocked Diamond Harbour Road to protest rash driving. They damaged some vehicles, too. The police are now looking for the Trekker driver, who fled after the accident. Additional superintendent of police (industrial) R.K. Singh said Mondal might have fallen off the Trekker, as witnesses said he had been hanging out of the vehicle.