Broken parts of the bike and the victim’s slippers lie at the site of Monday’s accident. The heap of sand that caused the mishap is in the background. Picture by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya
A 31-year-old motorcyclist skidded on sand dumped on Diamond Harbour Road, a stone’s throw from Thakurpukur police station, and was run over by a truck on Monday afternoon.
The motorcycle was pushed towards the pile of sand by an overtaking autorickshaw. Lakshmi Nath, a resident of Bakrahat in Thakurpukur, tried to apply the brakes but the tyres slipped on sand that had originally been dumped beside the road but had spilled on to the carriageway, throwing him and the two pillion riders on the ground, said witnesses.
“I had cried out to warn Lakshmi as the motorcycle veered towards the pile of sand but he could not maintain his balance. Two of us fell near the motorcycle but Lakshmi was flung to the middle of the carriageway. The truck ran over his head. I can never forget the fear in his eyes and his last scream for help,” said Lakshmi’s friend and colleague Samir Maiti, one of the pillion riders.
“Lakshmi had some work in the city. He would have dropped us near Behala police station from where we would have gone to our Jinjirabazar site office where all three of us used to work as mechanics,” said Tinku Gorai, the other pillion rider.
Residents stopped the killer truck, brought out the driver and took him to the nearby police station.
“Accidents have become commonplace in this area because of sand spilling on the road. Two days ago, the wheels of another motorcycle had skidded in a similar manner throwing the biker in front of a bus. Luckily the driver had slammed brakes at the right moment and he was saved,” said Tapan Dey, a resident.
The pile of sand that caused the mishap had been dumped for construction work in an adjacent shop. The contractor carrying out the work said the sand had spilled on the carriageway despite his “best efforts” and claimed to have taken “all necessary permissions”.
According to civic rules, a permission is mandatory to keep building materials beside the road and a fence must be erected around such a pile to prevent the materials from spilling on the carriageway.
Residents of the area said the rules were seldom followed. They had complained several times to the police to ask contractors not to dump sand on the road but they never paid heed.
Residents blocked Diamond Harbour Road for around 20 minutes and later demonstrated outside the police station protesting the lack of traffic policing on the stretch.
“We have initiated a case of negligent and rash driving against the driver and will also question the contractor who had dumped sand on the road in such a negligent manner,” said an officer of Thakurpukur police station.