It took a death on Monday and severe injuries to five more people on Tuesday for the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to finally remove gravel from the Jalandhar-Ludhiana stretch near Rama Mandi Chowk, on Tuesday.
However, the alleged negligence proved very costly for two Nigerian students, as their two wheeler slipped over the gravel scattered on the highway in the same manner as in the victim Balbir’s case, on Monday.
Eyewitness Lucky, a shopkeeper, said that five road crashes occurred on the same ‘killer’ spot, before the gravel was removed.
He added that two Nigerian students sustained severe injuries in one of the road crashes.
When contacted, Nigerian national Barisuka, pursuing his BCA from Lovely Professional University (LPU), said that it was horrible experience to be involved in a road crash too to unmarked gravel.
“I was riding the motorcycle with Joseline, a BBA final year student, as pillion rider. We were on way to the LPU. It was a smooth ride till I reached Rama Mandi Chowk. Suddenly, my scooter slipped on the gravel. I sustained deep knee injuries on right leg. Blood started oozing out. It was very painful,” he said.
Some shopkeepers arranged an ambulance to take him to the civil hospital. Joseline said she was still in shock due to incident. “I have injuries on my right arm,” she said.
Barisuka alleged that the civil hospital staff did not attend to them.
“They were insensitive. We got treatment at a private hospital and had to shell out more than Rs 5,000 for two injections, stitches on the knee and for getting wounds bandaged. It was again painful to spend money, which, I would not have opted to spend otherwise,” he said.
Eyewitnesses said that a senior citizen also sustained minor injuries in the same manner.
“A child was saved after a bus-driver managed to change the vehicle’s direction swiftly. The child was unhurt while his father sustained minor injuries,” Lucky said.
Meanwhile, Balbir’s son Sanjhpreet was shifted to recovery section of Johal hospital after he was operated upon for multiple fractures in his right arm and left leg. “Let me talk to my father on phone. I wanted to know about his health status. Why are you not allowing me to talk to him on even phone?”
Sanjhpreet asked this correspondent. Balbir was cremated in the afternoon.
NHAI Ambala division project director Vipin Kumar said that the private contractor Soma Enterprises Limited was responsible for several deaths on the national highway for causing inordinate delay in completion of the project.
“We have already submitted such list of causalities in road crashes on Jalandhar-Panipat highway to the Supreme Court, as a private contractor had moved the apex court against the Punjab and Haryana High court decision to impose huge penalty. We will ensure that the affected family gets due compensation,” he said.
NHAI member (finance) Satish Chandra, when contacted, said that appropriate action would be taken.
Donors may extend financial assistance to Sanjhpreet so as to enable him pay to treatment charges. Kindly contact Dr BS Johal: 98150-86865 or the reporter: 94170-33331