Mohamed Imranullah S.

This most-travelled road has become a killer-stretch

MADURAI: It was 11.55 a.m. of last Monday when it happened. Some 100 feet before Valar Nagar on Melur road, a young man was lying right on the middle of the road with blood oozing out of his head. A motorcycle lay beside him with some 30 onlookers.

Yes, it was an accident. A person riding towards the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court slammed on the brakes. His mobile phone worked in no time to call the Othakadai police station. Within minutes, the inspector arrives at the spot. At the same time, an ambulance of a popular hospital was proceeding in the opposite direction for some other work. Sensing the accident, the vehicle halted a few feet away and attempted to take a U-turn. By the time, an ambulance of another hospital, informed by the inspector, on the Melur road too arrived.

Panicked at the presence of the ambulance from a rival, the latter’s driver crashed right on the middle of road and yelled at the staff to quickly carry the victim inside the vehicle. The staff too acted fretfully, but lost all their vigour upon checking the victim’s pulse. It had stopped ticking!

“Sorry sir, you will have to take the body to the Government hospital,” the ambulance staff told the inspector and disappeared. Then, the police began the enquiry. It was a hit-and-run case.

The deceased was dark complexioned with a thick moustache and an unshaven face, disfigured owing to excessive bleeding. He wore a white shirt and dhoti. One of the policemen searched his outfits and found the driving license which identified him as R. Maruthapandi (35) of Periya Alankulam. Meanwhile, one of the bystanders speculated that the deceased might be the brother of one Chandran from Tirupparankundram.

To the shock of many, another person next to him immediately called up Mr. Chandran over his mobile phone and cried: “Annen, namma thambi sethutaanen, (Oh, your brother has died).”

As all this was happening, the police could manage to engage a private ambulance only at 1.10 p.m. to shift the body for post mortem. It did not end with that as another two-wheeler rider fell victim to a speeding vehicle on the same road, the following Thursday.

“Lack of wide roads, reckless driving by heavy vehicles, disproportionate infrastructural facilities in comparison to growth of vehicle population and failure on the part of the authorities concerned to strictly impose traffic regulations are the reasons for the Melur road turning into a deadly highway,” said B. Saravanan, an advocate practising in the Madurai Bench.

N. Prabhakaran, a tea stall owner on the road, said that the battered road which surprises the drivers and riders with potholes is also a reason behind frequent accidents. “I wish the officials did something to ensure a safe drive.”