The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Children hurt in mishap

Naxalbari, Nov. 10: Thirty students of St Vincent's Primary School, Hatighisa, were injured when they fell down from the tractor-trailer in which they were going to school.

The incident took place at eight in the morning on National Highway 31 at Hatighisa when the coconut rope that was holding the net-fencing of the trailer gave way and all the children who were clinging on to it fell on the road. Since there wasn't much traffic at that time, a major accident was averted

Five children, however, were seriously injured. All the students are children of garden workers of Merry View tea estate, about five km from here. About 60 children were travelling in the tractor-trailer when the accident occurred.

'In all, 30 children were brought to our hospital,' said Sister Virginia Kujur, an official of Daughters of the Cross Health Centre in Hatighisa, where the students were admitted. 'While half of them have been released after administering first aid, 15 are still with us. Five of them are seriously injured,' she added.

'I was holding onto the net,' said Kabita Tirki, a Class I student. 'When we were about to reach school, the vehicle jerked because of the bad road and then suddenly I found myself on the road along with the net fencing.'

Madhav Sarkar, secretary of the local committee of the CPM, said: 'The labour force is subjected to utter neglect throughout the year,' he said. 'This time, it is their children who have had to bear the brunt of the neglect. We have asked the management to take adequate measures or else we will launch a massive agitation,' he added.

Officials at the estate said the management would bear all expenses needed for the treatment of injured children.

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