The wheels of a speeding CTU bus crushed the dreams of a 17-year-old girl on August 17, 2012.
Dreaming of becoming a nurse, Pooja Devi, now 20, little knew that her life would become a nightmare and she would be forced to leave studies after matriculation. Pooja was left partially paralysed after a “rashly and negligently” driven bus hit her cycle near the Sector 43 roundabout, while she was on her way to Government High School, Sector 35.
Today, going about the usual chores is also difficult for this Dhanas resident, as she cannot use her left limbs.
“She had left home happily for school. Later, we got a call from hospital that she has been admitted there. She had a severe head injury and the skin on her right hand had peeled off. She had slipped into coma, making the matters worse,” said Pooja’s father, Baijnath, a labourer.
Pooja, who remained on the ventilator for a week and coma for a month, said she cannot forget how that day transformed her life into a “living nightmare”. Pooja had developed a brain clot and had to undergo brain surgery. The doctors, using skin grafting, recreated her arm, but it has restricted movement.
“Earlier, I could not even stand or hold anything, but now I am able to eat food on my own and walk with support. After the accident, however, I could not continue my studies,” said Pooja, eldest but one among five siblings. “Everyone else had left hope, but I knew she would survive, as she has always been a fighter,” said Baijnath.
Although the CTU denied that its driver, Shamsher Singh, was responsible for Pooja’s fate, in March 2015, the accidents tribunal asked the driver to pay `17.79 lakh to Pooja, with an interest of 7.5% interest till the actual date of realisation. The execution petition to ensure that CTU pays up the amount is still pending.
“The compensation amount is too little. We needed the money when she was in hospital. I had to take loans from friends, which I repaid only recently. But, at least, the money will secure her future, but we have no idea when we will get that money,” said Baijnath.