A chunk of flesh was chopped off the right arm of a woman when the autorickshaw she was riding with six members of her family was hit by another three-wheeler coming from the opposite direction near New Town on Monday morning.
Jhumki Mitra, 40, and the others boarded the auto in Kestopur on their way to Aquatica.
Rules bar autos from ferrying more than three passengers but in Calcutta and its surrounding areas three-wheelers rampantly ferry four passengers.
But seven passengers in an auto is unheard of even in the city. Jhumki, a resident of Dum Dum, and two other adults were seated in the back. Jhumki and another person were carrying a kid each on their laps.
Two others were seated on both sides of the driver.
“When our auto reached Hatgachhia around 11.30am, another auto from the opposite direction first hit the front right part of our auto and then grazed it,” recounted Tutu Sarkar, Jhumki’s brother-in-law.
The right arm of Jhumki, who was seated in the extreme right, was protruding out because of the child in her lap.
When the auto coming from the front grazed their three-wheeler, Jhumki’s right hand was crushed between the two.
The family members said they hailed a taxi and took a bleeding Jhumki to Bidhannagar Sub-divisional Hospital. The relatives said they could not note down the registration number of either of the autos in their hurry to take the injured to hospital.
Doctors at Bidhannagar Sub-divisional Hospital referred Jhumki to NRS Medical College and Hospital, as they did not have the infrastructure to treat the injury. The family members took her to the Karunamoyee unit of a private hospital and finally got her admitted to another unit of the same hospital in Salt Lake.
“Doctors said she would have to undergo surgery,” said a family member.
The family from Dum Dum had reached Karunamoyee in Salt Lake, where auto drivers said they did not ply to Aquatica on fare. “They suggested we hire an auto for Rs 1,000 or go to Kestopur, from where they said autos ply to Aquatica on fare,” said Tutu Sarkar. “At Kestopur, too, the auto operators insisted that we hire a three-wheeler at Rs 40 a passenger. We had no option but to agree to their terms.”
The blue book of an auto mentions that the vehicle can ferry up to three passengers. In Calcutta, however, three-wheelers ferry up to six passengers, in violation of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules and the Motor Vehicles Act.
The rules limit the number of passengers to three to ensure the driver has enough room to manoeuvre the steering handle. “If the driver is comfortable, the passengers are safe,” said an official.
Officers of Bidhannagar City Police said they would forward the complaint to the South 24-Parganas police as the accident had occurred in their area.
Five men and a taxi driver were arrested for allegedly assaulting cops at Patuli on Monday.
Police spotted a taxi carrying five men, that fled when the cops tried to stop it. Two cops on a motorcycle intercepted it near Patuli crossing where the men, who were allegedly drunk, assaulted the cops.