Monday, 30th October 2017

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Mamata chides Birbhum SP on accidents

8 bike riders died in road accidents in Birbhum, East Midnapore and Murshidabad districts since Tuesday night

By Snehamoy Chakraborty in Bolpur(Birbhum)
  • Published 3.01.19, 1:46 AM
  • Updated 3.01.19, 1:46 AM
  • 2 mins read
Mamata at the administrative meeting in Bolpur on Wednesday. Picture by Indrajit Roy

The Bengal chief minister on Wednesday came down heavily on Birbhum police, asking why deaths in road accidents had increased in the district last year.

The public rebuke from Mamata Banerjee at an administrative meeting here comes after eight bike riders died in road accidents in Birbhum, East Midnapore and Murshidabad districts since Tuesday night.

In Birbhum, three youths were killed and another injured when the motorcycle they were riding with helmets collided head on with a truck near Pratappur village in Rampurhat on Tuesday night.

Police sources said the four were going to a cultural programme at Pratappur village. The deceased were either school or college students. They were Ashiqul Sheikh, 19, Masud Sheikh, 18 and Bapi Sheikh 20. The injured youth is Sohel Sheikh.

The police said Masud’s body had been found at Sontsal village in Mohammedbazar, 40km from the accident spot. They assume that the body was entangled in the truck and dragged away.

Mentioning a few accident zones in the Birbhum district, including Tarapith and Illambazar, the chief minister asked state security adviser Surajit Kar Purakayastha whether he knew that accident rate was higher in Birbhum compared to other districts.

The chief minister said: “Ask him (SP) what is the number of accidents in 2017 and 2018.”

District police chief Shyam Singh stood up and said: “In 2017, the number of deaths in accidents (in Birbhum) was 304 and the figure is 299 in 2018. That means the number has come down by five.”

Mamata asked him: “Is it? I have a report where the deaths (in accidents) from January to November in 2017 is 278 and the number is 298 between January and October in 2018,” she said.

The SP replied there were five less deaths in 2018 but the chief minister said: “But its not matching with the data available with me. I am comparing the data from January to November (2017) and January to October (2018). The number of deaths in November, 2018, has not been given intentionally because the figure will increase.”

She continued: “Why have deaths increased? It means you are not properly looking into the matter. The number of accidents increase in winter. Have you taken any measures?”

“We have given you watchtowers, CCTV and everything you wanted. What more do you want to implement road safety measures? the chief minister asked.

Singh said: “Madam, this year, we will take up a special programme and accidents will be reduced.”

Kar Purakayastha asked the SP to continue checks with breath analysers and ask drivers to splash water in their eyes who drive overnight.

In East Midnapore’s Haldia, two siblings — Sheikh Samsur Doha, 43, and Sheikh Noor Mohammed, 27, — and their cousin Sheikh Saidul Rahman, 22, were killed when their bike rammed into a trailer truck on Tuesday night. Two of them were wearing helmets. Police said they were returning home in Tamluk after attending a religious programme in Haldia.

In Murshidabad’s Samserganj, Aliul Momin, 21, and cousin Rahim Momin, 20, were killed when a truck hit them on NH34. Police said neither of them was wearing a helmet. They were returning home after seeing off their sister and her husband at Nimtita railway station.

  • Additional reporting by Anshuman Phadikar in Tamluk and Alamgir Hossain in Behrampore