3 dead in twin accidents

Three persons died in two accidents on Basanti Highway early on Sunday, highlighting yet again the risk of travelling down the ill-maintained road that has been witnessing crashes at a frightening frequency.

A Honda City carrying a trader from the city fell into a roadside canal apparently after the driver failed to negotiate a sharp bend at Koyla Depot, about 6km from Science City, along Basanti Highway that connects the city to the Sunderbans, via Bantala Leather Complex.

Trader Suven Mondal and the driver, identified as Ranjit Sen, a resident of Sonarpur, died.

The accident spot is an S-shaped bend. Vehicles from the city first have to take a left turn, which is immediately followed by a sharp right turn. Any vehicle negotiating the bend even at a moderate speed runs the risk of colliding with another vehicle from the opposite direction or hurtling into the roadside ditch.

Almost the entire concrete railing on the bridge across the canal have crumbled, a testimony to frequent crashes.

"The driver of the Honda City perhaps failed to see the sharp bend because of fog," said Tarun Mondal, a agricultural worker who lives in the vicinity.

Police said fish trader Mondal, 45, was returning home to Bamunghata in South 24-Parganas in a rented car. "Mondal had hired the car for attending a wedding reception off the Bypass. He had gone somewhere else from the reception and was returning home when the accident occurred," said a police officer.

Police suspect the car fell into the canal before sunrise. "Local people alerted us around 7.30am. The duo were taken to National Medical College and Hospital where they were declared dead," said the officer.

An unidentified man, the victim of another accident, was found dead on a spot on Basanti Highway, about 3km from Science City, before sunrise on Sunday.

Local residents blamed sharp bends, poor condition of the road and defunct streetlights, apart from reckless driving, for the frequent accidents.

"The lights never work. The bulbs in most of the lamp posts have been stolen. We travel on the road with constant fear of an accident," said a man who works in a field adjacent to the road.

There are signages near the sharp bends, but the defunct streetlights keep them out of view of drivers after sunset.

The road is also frequented by several techies from the city who work in Cognizant Technology Solutions that has an office off the leather complex.

In June, 24 employees of Cognizant were injured when the bus they were travelling in crashed into a state bus on Basanti Highway.

An eight-year-old boy was killed and over 50 people were injured when a packed city-bound CTC bus fell into a canal beside the road. The driver lost control apparently after the bus had hit a pothole.

PWD officials said they had started repairing the road.