KOCHI: The ‘death race’ of private buses in the city continues to claim the lives of many persons. On Tuesday, an 82-year-old Pathanamthitta native became the latest victim of the reckless driving by the bus drivers.K J Mathai of Kalazhiveettil at Kallooppara in Pathanamthitta was mowed down by a speeding private bus near Government Girls’ High School at Ernakulam South.
Officials with the Central police station said Mathai was crossing the road when he was hit by the bus and came under its wheels. Though passers-by rushed him to a private hospital, Mathai couldn’t be saved.
The police said the postmortem examination was conducted at the Ernakulam General Hospital and the body handed over to relatives. Traders at Ernakulam South came out strongly against the rash driving by private bus drivers. “The bus stop is in front of the school. However, the drivers don’t care about students’ safety. They are only concerned about the ‘competition’ with rival buses,” said Basheer, a tea-stall owner.
Headmaster of the school TV Peter said the situation is bad at Ernakulam South. “The bus stop is right in front of our building and all hell breaks loose when school disperses. We face the same problem in the morning too,” he said.
“No one cares about the safety of pedestrians or schoolchildren. Private buses zoom in from Chittoor Road and from the Valanjambalam side, choking the junction. We are extremely worried about the safety of our students,” Peter said. He said though the school had repeatedly petitioned the district collector and the police to get the bus stop shifted, nothing has happened. As per the data available on the Kerala Police website, private buses have caused 224 fatal accidents killing 235 persons across the state.
338 fatal mishaps in Ekm
Till September this year, Ernakulam city saw around 100 fatal accidents involving different types of vehicles, in which 106 people died. As many as 1,187 grievous accidents and 280 minor mishaps were also reported. In 114 mishaps, none was injured. In Ernakulam rural, a total 2,998 mishaps occurred of which 238 were fatal. The death toll was 249. In various mishaps, 2,321 people were grievously injured, while 905 escaped with minor bruises.