An auto-rickshaw took down an elderly passerby in the middle of the street at Maniktala on Tuesday morning. The man, who was hit severely, succumbed to his injuries on the way to the hospital.
The tragic occurrence comes at a time when the state government has issued a temporary policy for regulation of auto-rickshaws in the city and a 13-point guideline was given to the drivers to adhere to.
Police said Haridas Saha, a resident of Rajarhat area of North 24 Parganas, was crossing a road in Maniktala when the speeding auto hit him. Saha was taken to RG Kar Medical College and Hospital, but declared dead on arrival.
The locals caught up the accused auto driver Naresh Saha and a mob proceeded to beat him up. The driver was later handed over to the police who came from Narkeldanga police station. The driver was arrested and his vehicle was seized.
Meanwhile, the city police initiated raids to curb the menace of flouting of traffic norms by auto-rickshaw drivers. This comes at the time when several lives have been lost in separate road accidents in the past one week. All the accidents took place due to reckless driving by auto-rickshaw drivers.
A college girl was killed while commuting in an auto, which rammed into a private bus a few days ago at Ultadanga. Moreover, an auto driver and a commuter were killed at Salt Lake, near City Centre, when the auto collided with a speeding public bus. State Transport minister Suvendu Adhikari has held several high-level meetings to discuss the issue and find a way out to curb the menace caused of errant auto-rickshaws.
Traffic sergeants and constables were seen taking immediate measures when an auto-rickshaw was found flouting traffic norms either by violating the traffic signal or by carrying more than four passengers.
As per the norms, a maximum of four passengers are allowed to ply in an auto-rickshaw. Three people sit on the rear section, while one person is allowed to travel sitting beside the driver in the front of the vehicle. However, in many routes drivers take five or even six passengers.
Carrying five passengers was restricted a decade ago to check accidents. A driver gets less space to drive the vehicle if he takes two passengers on both of his sides. As a result, there used to be several accidents. The situation is now such that drivers carry an additional passenger and at the same time drive recklessly without following traffic norms.