Around 500 students, along with local residents, blocked NH12 for about four hours and set ablaze a lorry that allegedly ran over a teacher in Nadia’s Chakdah on Thursday morning.
According to sources, Biswajit Pal, a private tutor, was heading to a tuition centre around 7.30am when he apparently lost control of his two-wheeler at Pakagacha area of the town and fell on the muddy ground while riding through an under-developed stretch of the NH12 that is being widened into a four-lane track. “A lorry then rammed into his scooter from behind and the 38-year-old teacher was crushed under its wheels,” said a source.
Some locals, including students, who witnessed the teacher getting killed by the lorry got infuriated and intercepted the vehicle and ransacked it. The mob then blocked the road for around four hours.
Students and local residents block NH12 at Palagacha in Nadia on Thursday Debasish Mukherjee
The students attributed the condition of the road as the reason behind the accident and accused NH12 authorities for their lackadaisical approach in completing the job. They also pointed the finger at also police for not cracking down on speeding vehicles.
Priyanka Pal, a Class X student, said: “The stretch of NH12 in our locality has become inaccessible and accident-prone due to slow progress of work. The road has been in damaged condition for long and the administration has done little to improve things. At the same time, vehicles ply at high speed posing a threat to pedestrians and motorcyclists.”
“Biswajit sir used to advise us to avoid the NH and use the internal road instead. But today he fell victim to the negligence of police and NH authorities,” Ujjwal Bhowmik, another student said.
The protesters demanded compensation for the family of the deceased teacher and completion of the road work as early as possible and agreed to withdraw the blockade after cops and the district administration assured them that their demands would be fulfilled.
Khokon Sinharoy, a local resident, said: “The administration has assured us to consider the appeal for compensation to save the family of the tutor. The private tutor has left behind his wife and two toddlers. If the demand is not met there would be a bigger agitation.”
NH12 DGM and Krishnagar Project Manager Raju Kumar refuted allegations of slow progress of work.
“The accident is unfortunate. The existing road is being rebuilt and that is taking time. The process is getting delayed because of the existence of underground pipe lines, electric and cables. Heavy rain in the past few days has worsened the stretch. We are trying to complete the work as early as possible,” Kumar added.