Guwahati: Following a major road tragedy at Guwahati’s Jalukbari area on Monday which killed seven engineering students and injured six others, a panel was formed to probe the cause of the accident.
A 10-member committee of the Assam Engineering College (AEC) was formed to investigate the circumstances that led to the accident. The AEC panel was directed to submit its report within two days.
Out of ten students who were travelling at the time, seven died on Monday morning when their speeding car hit a road divider and collided with a pick-up van. Those injured are undergoing treatment at the Guwahati Medical College & Hospital.
The committee comprises of Dr Arup Bardalai, professor and head of department of EE/INS; Dr Shashanka Shekhar Sarma, associate professor, EE and hostel superintendent of Hostel No 7; Dr Sasanka Bora, assistant professor, CE; Dr PK Choudhury, assistant professor, ME; Prof BJ Das, associate professor, CE; Dr Abinash Mahanta, assistant professor, CE; Dr Barnali Gogoi, associate professor, MCA; Dr Jayanta Pathak, professor and head of CE; Dr Kalyan Kalita, professor, head of ME; and Dr Navajit Saikia, professor and head of E&TE.
“The accident took place near DCP West office, Jalukbari at around 1 am on Monday. A speeding Scorpio bearing registration number AS 01FK9605 coming from Azara side crossed over the divider and crashed into a Bolero pick-up van bearing registration No. AS01GC8829 on the opposite lane coming from Guwahati side,” said a senior police official.
Police elaborated that it was a major accident and that there were 10 third-year students of the AEC in the rented Scorpio vehicle which met an accident. Kaushik Baruah, one of the students, was driving the car. The Bolero pick-up van with which the Scorpio collided had three passengers, including the driver.
“In the accident, 7 students succumbed to injuries on the spot and 3 were brought immediately to Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) for treatment,” the official said.
“The 3 persons in the Bolero were also brought to GMCH for immediate treatment. Out of the alive six persons, one is critical but the other five are stable as stated by attending GMCH doctors,” he added.
As per reports, the deceased have been identified as Arindam Bhallal, son of Alok Bhallal, Satgaon Pragati Nagar, Guwahati; Rajkiran Bhuyan, son of Surjya Kumar Bhuyan, Kamalabari, Majuli; Niyar Deka, son of Anil Deka, Numaligarh, NRL Township, Golaghat; Kaushik Baruah, son of Bhabajyoti Baruah, Jyotinagar, Mangaldai; Emon Gayan, Nizamkhatta, Dibrugarh; Kaushik Mohan, Mahmora, Charaideo and Upangshu Sarma, from nearby Ramanujam College, Nagaon.
The injured have been identified as Muzammil Haque, son of Roshan Ali, Mukalmuwa, Nalbari; Yusuf Ali, son of Rafique Ali, Rampur Mukalmuwa, Nalbari; and Rajib Ali, son of Hafiz Ali, Bhella Barpeta.
“Extremely anguished by the loss of young and precious lives in the road accident at Jalukbari. My deepest condolences to their parents and families,” Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma conveyed on social media. “Have spoken to authorities at GMCH. All possible medical assistance is being provided to those injured,” he added.
On being questioned about the lack of proper protocol at the AEC hostel premises, Principal Atul Bora defended the hostel management by saying that the students were at fault. “The students have violated the norms which we have set for the hostel campus,” Bora said.
He added, “They hired a Scorpio to go outside at night. As per our protocol, no student is allowed to go out of the hostel after midnight. It is an unfortunate incident for us.”
Meanwhile, the bodies of the deceased students have been handed over to their families after a post-mortem examination conducted at GMCH on Monday.
Meanwhile, Kamrup Metro district transport officer (DTO) Gautam Das informed that prima facie it has been ascertained that the students died due to over-speeding under the influence of alcohol.
Das also said that as per the direction of DGP GP Singh, the transport department and the engineers carried out an examination of the car and didn’t find any technical fault.
Das said, “It is a clear case of overspeeding under the influence of alcohol. It is also suspected that the person in the driving seat was driving at a speed of more than 100 kilometres per hour when it hit the divider and crashed into a Bolero pickup van coming from the opposite direction.”
“Moreover, none of them wore seat belts; there were around 10 students inside the 7-seater Mahindra Scorpio. We are going to strengthen our enforcement drives against drunken driving at every corner of the city including roads near Gauhati University and Assam Engineering College (AEC). We also request the citizens to avoid driving any kind of vehicle under the influence of alcohol,” Das also said.
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DGP GP Singh has already directed the city police to strengthen the enforcement drive against drunken driving from Monday onwards. The top cop has also urged the parents and management of the educational institutes to take responsibility of their children/students by stopping them from drinking or taking immediate action against drunken driving.
“We take the responsibility of enforcing strong laws against drunken driving, but, parents must take care of their children and prohibit them from drinking alcohol. Similarly, the management of the educational institutes (colleges/universities) must take strict action against those students driving vehicles under the influence of alcohol,” the DGP added.
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