Staff Reporter

Victim was crossing the road; speeding van ignores traffic policeman's signal halt

TAMBARAM: A 62-year-old man was killed on the spot when a speeding van knocked him down opposite the Government Hospital of Thoracic Medicine, commonly known as TB Hospital, on the Grand Southern Trunk Road near Chromepet on Sunday morning, even as a traffic policeman was regulating traffic there.

The victim, M. Natarajan, was walking across the road near the pedestrian crossing, when the speeding van knocked him down. He was crossing the road only after a traffic policemen on duty stopped flow of vehicles on both directions to enable pedestrians cross the road. But the van, going towards Tambaram, ignored the traffic policeman's directions and speeded ahead, hitting the senior citizen in the process.

Natarajan, who retired from the Chennai Corporation as a foreman was a resident of Chromepet New Colony and was walking towards the TB hospital bus stop accompanied by his son Janakiraman, an area committee member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). They were on their way to Tambaram to board a bus to Tindivanam.

The speeding vehicle has been seized by the Tambaram Traffic Investigation Wing Police and its driver arrested.

Residents who gathered at the spot were livid at the scant regard many drivers showed for road safety rules along this stretch of GST Road. A group of people, including members of the Chromepet New Colony Residents Welfare Association, Democratic Youth Federation of India, All India Democratic Women's Association and residents of Kakkalanchavady staged a demonstration around noon.

They said frequent accidents on this stretch had claimed the lives of several people of Kakkalanchavady and Chromepet and even patients at the TB hospital. They said despite the provision of barricades at vantage points and demarcation of accident prone zones, accidents continued to take place. According to residents, acute shortage in the Traffic Enforcement Wing of St. Thomas Mount sub-division and absence of signals were the main reasons for rash driving by motorists.

"Senior officials of the traffic police based in city headquarters are unaware of the magnitude of problems here ," he said.