5 school students killed after being run over by truck in Bhadrak; driver arrested

Bhadrak/Balasore: In a tragic incident, at least five students were killed while 4 others suffered critical injuries after they were run over by a truck near Rahanja on NH-16 in Bhadrak today. Till last reports came in, a girl student among the injured was shifted to SCB Medical College & Hospital in Cuttack after her condition deteriorated.

The incident occurred at around 4 PM when the students were returning from school, reports said.

Later in the day, the driver of the truck was nabbed by police from the nearby Asura village, informed police sources.

According to sources, as the school is located close to the National Highway, the students reportedly used to cross the busy junction by risking their lives daily.

Locals alleged that the mishap occurred due to rash driving by the driver of the 10-wheeler truck.

“Four girl students were killed on the spot while another student died while undergoing treatment at the hospital. One student has been shifted to SCB medical college and hospital,” informed Bhadrak Collector Gyana Das.

According to sources, the driver and helper of the vehicle are absconding; however, irate locals set the truck on fire. Locals also staged a road blockade demanding compensation for those killed in the incident.

Local residents also demanded installation of proper signage, speed limits, speed breakers along the NH.

Expressing grief over the road accident and death of school children, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each for the kin of the deceased.

Road Safety activist, SK Makbool Ali stated that, “Instead of booking a case of accident, the driver of the vehicle should be charged under section 302 for murder.”

Ali further stated that today’s incident is a clear case of negligence as it happened in broad daylight.

Bhadrak Collector Gyana Das and other senior officials visited the hospital to inquire about the health condition of injured school students.

Commerce and Transport Minister, Nrusingha Charan Sahu said, “The exact reason behind the accident will be investigated and stern action will be taken against those responsible after the inquiry.”

Sahu further informed whether the particular spot was identified as a ‘Blackspot’ or not will be reviewed. At present 286 black spots have been identified across State, he added.

Expressing grief over the death of the school students, former Kendrapara MP, in a tweet, demanded immediate amendment of penal provision for drunken driving under Road Safety Law.

Vehicular traffic movement was disrupted on the national highway as the locals continued with their road blockade demanding written assurance from Bhadrak collector.

The collector had announced that a total of Rs 4 lakh each as ex-gratia will be given by the State government to the families of the deceased and assured that a bridge will be constructed to avoid such incidents in future. However, the locals stayed put with their strike demanding a written assurance. Later, police had to chase away the agitators to clear the road blockade following which normalcy in vehicular movement was restored.