Auto drivers of South Kolkata went off roads Wednesday morning after an accident claimed the life of a 50-year-old auto driver on Christmas night.
“At around 9.30 pm Tuesday, a government bus and auto rickshaw collided on Sahapur Road, Durgapur Colony. While the bus driver fled, Sanjay Sarkar, who was driving the auto, was rushed to B P Poddar Hospital, where he was declared brought dead. The bus was seized and the driver was nabbed later in the day,” said a police officer. A case was registered under section 304 (death by negligence) of the IPC.
Sarkar’s family and other auto driver claimed he was killed while the bus was trying to overtake another. He was going from New Alipore to Taratala when the bus hit his auto from behind, said sources.
Sarkar’s death triggered anger among other auto drivers who decided to stay off the roads all day, affecting commuting on routes including Rashbehari- Behala, Ballygunj-Behala, Bosepukur-Behala, Kasba-Behala, Gariahat-Taratala, Judge Court-Ballygunj, Gariahat-Chetla and Hazra-Behala.
“I have been standing here for half an hour and haven’t a single auto. Buses are overly crowded”, said Neha Gupta, a Behala resident working as a receptionist for a private company.
Rash Behari resident Pooja Mukherjee, who is pregnant, had to cancel her doctor’s appointment after she failed to get an auto to Behala.
“We are often accused of rash driving, misbehaving with passengers. Why is there no action against buses that try to overtake each other? Today we lost our friend and to show solidarity, we stayed off the roads. We don’t want to call it a strike,” said an auto driver.