BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha government’s ‘zero fatality week’ between December 1 and 7 started on a gloomy note as 20 persons died in separate road accidents across the state on the initiative’s first day itself. Till this report was filed, the death toll on the first two days stood at 22.
Eight people from Ganjam district died after their van hit a stationary truck in Keonjhar district in the wee hours of Friday. Around 19 people including five children were travelling in a Tata Winger to Maa Tarini temple in Ghatagaon when the mishap took place on the National Highway. Sources said the commercial van had the capacity to carry 16 passengers.
“The van collided with a stationary truck near a 120-degree turn. Whether the driver dozed off or lost control of the vehicle is being examined. Three accidents had taken place earlier in the year on the same stretch of the highway resulting in as many casualties,” said sources.
In a recent meeting, Keonjhar collector had reportedly taken up the matter with Chief Secretary PK Jena requesting him to ask the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to install lights on the road. The stretch hardly has any lights which poses a huge risk to commuters, especially during nights and winters, said sources.
Apart from eight deaths, four other persons died in three separate mishaps in various parts of Keonjhar district on Friday. One road accident-related death each was reported from Angul, Dhenkanal, Sambalpur, Sundargarh, Malkangiri, and Rairangpur in Mayurbhanj, Jagatsinghpur and Koraput districts during the period.
A total of 13 road accidents took place in various parts of the state on Friday and 22 people sustained injuries. Road accident deaths were also reported on the second day of zero fatality week.Two persons were killed and another sustained critical injuries after the car they were travelling in hit a stationary truck on the National Highway within Pahala police limits of the capital city.
The truck driver had parked the heavy vehicle on the side of the highway when the car enroute to Bhubaneswar from Cuttack hit it between 2.30 am and 3 am. Two persons, Amulya Das and Susil Kar, died in the incident, said a police officer. The police have seized the truck and detained its driver. Meanwhile, Transport Department sources said around 2,807 e-challans were issued for various traffic violations on the first day of zero fatality week.