In Kanpur Accident That Killed 31, Tractor Driver Missing, Cop Suspended

A three-member committee has been formed to probe the charges of negligence in providing treatment to the injured victims.

In Kanpur Accident That Killed 31, Tractor Driver Missing, Cop Suspended

The Chief Minister expressed his condolences to the grieving residents. (File)

Kanpur:

A day after 26 people died in a tractor-trolley accident here, a station house officer was suspended for alleged "dereliction of duty" while the tractor driver was still missing.

A three-member committee has been formed to probe the charges of negligence in providing treatment to the injured victims.

Talking to PTI over phone, Kanpur District Magistrate Vishak G Ayyar said the committee will be headed by Additional District Magistrate, (Finance and Revenue) Rajesh Kumar, while Chief Medical Officer Alok Ranjan and director Ursula Horseman Memorial Hospital (UHM) will be its members.

The inquiry committee has been formed after the family of the dead and the injured expressed dissatisfaction over treatment provided at Community Health Centre (Bheetergaon), he added.

The committee has been asked to submit the detailed report on whether there was any delay or negligence in providing medical facilities to the injured.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who visited the injured at the hospital and also met the bereaved families at Kortha village on Sunday, gave a slew of directions including a complete ban on the use of loading vehicles like tractor-trolley, pick-ups, etc for public transportation in the state.

Two telephone helplines were also announced to report violations of traffic rules.

Mr Ayyar said of the 26 dead, 14 are women and 10 are children.

"The SHO of Saadh police station has been suspended for dereliction of duty," he said.

A senior police official said the accident spot was near Bhadeuna village, barely a kilometre from the Saadh police station, but the SHO "reached there after around one hour."

"The death count stands at 26, while the number of injured is nine. There were 35 passengers on the ill-fated tractor-trolley. The post-mortem examination was conducted at night. The cremation is being carried out at Deori Ghat in Maharajpur," the DM said.

According to the eyewitnesses, the tractor was being driven at a high speed despite requests by passengers to slow down, Additional Director General of Police (Kanpur zone) Bhanu Bhaskar told reporters.

"Subsequently, the driver lost control over the tractor and it overturned. The women and children came under the trolley," he said.

He said the tractor driver, Raju, is missing.

The victims were on their way to Ghatampur after attending "mundan" (shaving a baby's hair for the first time) ceremony of Raju's son at the Chandrika Devi temple in Fatehpur, an official said.

Raju's mother Ram Janki (55) and daughter Riya (8) were among those killed in the tragedy, the official added.

"Once he is caught, other things will be probed. Five other people who were with the driver are yet to be traced," Mr Bhaskar said.

Asked whether the driver was under the influence of alcohol, he said they were looking into it.

Wails of grieving families filled the air in Kortha village after the massive tragedy on Saturday evening.

Chief Minister Adityanath visited the village, which is 4-5 kilometres from the accident site, and consoled the families of the victims.

A villager, Alok Nishad, alleged that police and district administration officials didn't allow the people to leave the Deori ghat after the last rites of the victims to stop them from interacting with the chief minister so that the "negligence" of officials is not exposed.

The district magistrate, however, said the chief minister visited 12 houses and met the families who had lost their loved ones in the tragic accident.

The Chief Minister expressed his condolences to the grieving residents. He asked about their children, the DM said.

Speaking to reporters outside the Lala Lajpat Rai Hospital, Chief Minister Adityanath said the government would launch more awareness programmes on road safety to prevent such tragedies.

Terming the loss of lives in road accidents as a matter of grave concern, the chief minister appealed to people not to use tractor-trolley to ferry passengers and to follow traffic rules.

"It is a tragic incident. The government, to stop such accidents, has been running many awareness programmes from time to time. I had appealed yesterday that road safety should be a subject of priority for us ... A large number of lives are lost in road accidents, and this should be an issue of concern for us," Chief Minister Adityanath said.

Primarily, tractors, trolleys and trucks should be used for the purposes they are meant to be. If these are not used to ferry people, then we could curtail the loss of lives in a large number, he said.

"I have directed the home department, transport, PWD, all the education departments and all the agencies involved in construction to run a comprehensive programme and ascertain the shortcomings which are leading to such accidents," he said.

The chief minister held a high-level meeting in Lucknow to discuss road safety and the government also released two phone numbers 0522-2390468 and 09454402555 to report violations of traffic rules.

The Chief Minister appealed that people should follow traffic rules to ensure safety for themselves and their family members.

The Traffic Directorate, under the direction of the chief minister, has ordered a complete ban on the use of loading vehicles like tractor-trolley, pick-ups, etc for public transportation, officials said.

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav attacked the ruling BJP, alleging that the Kanpur tragedy was a result of the poor condition of roads in the state.

In a statement issued from the SP headquarters, Akhilesh Yadav alleged that the road accident victims are not getting even ambulances under the BJP government.

He also alleged that the injured in the Kanpur incident were taken to hospital on motorcycles.

Akhilesh Yadav said roads across UP are in shambles and are marred with deep potholes.

"It is sad that the public is bearing the brunt of the failures of the BJP government," he said in the statement. "Lives are being lost and the government is uninformed, it is a matter of grave concern."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Saturday expressed grief over the incident and announced financial compensation of Rs 2 lakh each for the next of family of the dead from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF).

The injured would be given Rs 50,000.

Yogi Adityanath has sent ministers Rakesh Sachan and Ajit Pal to the accident site to speed up the rescue operation.

An eyewitness told reporters that he, along with others, rushed to the site after hearing the cries of men, women and children for help.

The locals immediately jumped into the water and pulled out the victims, some of whom were already dead, he said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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