BENGALURU: Improper water draining works in the partly inundated Hebbal subway under the high traffic density Ballari Road snuffed out the life of a 14-year-old girl on Monday afternoon. The girl, Akshaya, while returning home from school around 12.45 pm, was forced to avoid the subway as it was partly filled with water and had to instead try and jump over the three-foot-high road divider near the Hebbal underpass.
Akshaya, a Class 9 student at Stella Maris English School, had attended an exam, taken a BMTC bus and got down at the Hebbal stop opposite the Hebbal police station to return home in Vishwanatha Nagenahalli. She and two women pedestrians were crossing the road towards the police station and were approaching the road divider when the speeding garbage truck of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike ran over Akshaya, killing her instantly. The truck also injured one of the women pedestrians, Soumya, 40. It then crashed into a two-wheeler and a car, injuring the rider -- Vikar, 42.
Akshaya, daughter of Narasimha Murthy who is a conductor with Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation, and Geetha, a homemaker, hailed from Kolar. Murthy filed a complaint with the RT Nager Traffic police, and the garbage truck driver Manjunath was arrested.
He alleged that there was water-logging in the subway due to heavy rain on Sunday evening and pedestrians, including his daughter, were unable to use it. A police officer from Hebbal police station said they had alerted the BBMP control room about the subway inundation. “But no one came to clear the water. We have decided to file a case against BBMP officials,” he added.
A BBMP official said, “Water had gushed into the subway from all sides. Pumps were brought and water was cleared from 9 am till 11 am.” Despite the official’s claims, the subway continued to be partly inundated even after the fatal accident took place, indicating that the works were not done properly forcing pedestrians to cross the road at the grade level risking their lives. Also, there were no Home Guards or traffic police to regulate the traffic at the time.
BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta, who visited the spot, said he has sought a detailed report from the engineers and is awaiting the police report. He said he will talk to the BBMP administrator and state government to give due compensation to Akshaya’s family.
“It is an unfortunate incident. People should not take such risks. There is a skywalk and a pedestrian underpass which should have been used. Three to three-and-a-half-feet-high road dividers have been erected on the stretch to prevent people from crossing the road at grade level. CCTV footage details are being obtained,” he said.