A 16-year-old girl who was on her way home after participating in the Independence Day celebrations at her school was killed after being hit by a Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) bus in Chennai’s Chromepet Monday, the police said.
CCTV footage released by the police shows the deceased student Lakshmi Sri and her friend riding their bicycles on Rajendra Prasad (RP) Road when the MTC bus, which was going towards Pozhichalur from Hastinapuram, passes by.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, an officer from the local Pallikaranai police station said the accident happened around 10.20 am and they are investigating the reasons behind it. “The bus driver Devakumar, 52, surrendered on Monday. There are two versions regarding the incident. One is that the girls’ cycles collided and they fell in front of the bus, while some witnesses say that the bus hit the girl’s bicycle, so we are still investigating,” the officer said.
Local residents, meanwhile, said that RP Road has been plagued by encroachments due to which school-going students and others are forced to walk or ride cycles very close to the central portion of the road, risking their lives. They urged the local administration to take immediate steps to address the issue.
The police said that the body of the deceased student was sent to Chromepet Government Hospital for post-mortem. The bus driver has been booked under sections 279 (rash driving or riding on a public way) and 304A (causing death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code, they added.
Sunil Jayaram, one of the core volunteers of Chitlapakkam Rising, a non-governmental organisation, said poor roads and encroachments on footpaths are some of the chief issues in the locality. “RP Road is one of the most congested in this area. Fruit and flower sellers carry out sales on the footpath causing huge inconvenience to the public. If we raise the issue or if something comes up in the media, the authorities would visit the place and ask the vendors to stay away, but they would return in a few days. This has been happening for the past five years,” he said.
“In March this year, we registered a complaint in this regard with the Tambaram Corporation. It was assigned to the town planning officer, but no action has been taken so far. This has been a case of complete neglect. The entire stretch is in very bad shape, it is filled with potholes,” Jayaram pointed out.
“Another issue is that a majority of the buildings here have deviated from the approved plan and have erected the structure almost till the road, forcing visitors to park their vehicles on the road. Recently, the electricity department also carried out underground cable works, taking up much space on the road. If the situation continues like this, there are higher chances of accidents here,” he said, adding that the stretch needs a permanent solution to these woes.