GUWAHATI, March 17 - The killer city buses of Guwahati have claimed one more life, the second within twenty four hours. A 48-year-old widow, Pabitra Biswas, was crushed to death by a city bus on HB Road at Panbazar around 7.40 am today.
The speeding bus was reportedly competing with another bus and it rammed into the other, before hitting the woman who was trying to cross the road. Both the buses were not supposed to take the road they were plying on, traffic police said.
Two passengers travelling on one of the buses were also injured. Damayanti Devi of Nalbari (50) and Chandana Barman of Dispur (21) were also taken to a hospital.
Both the drivers of the city buses fled the scene immediately. Locals, however, beat up the handymen and the conductor before police took them into custody. �We have collected the phone numbers and contact details of the drivers,� a police official said.
Last night, a passenger, Krishna Deka, was killed while trying to get down from a city bus near Goswami Service Petrol Pump. The bus reportedly started moving before Deka could get down, and eventually fell down and came under the tyres.
Despite repeated public complaints, city traffic police and transport department officials have failed to check the unruly behaviour of city buses. From competing with each other flouting all guidelines meant for safe driving to chocking traffic at almost every bus stand, some drivers have been taking the city to ransom, often causing death to people.
�Half of the city�s traffic congestion problem is due to the errant buses. Most of the areas where there are regular traffic jams are near bus stands. You can see eight to ten buses halting at the same time at bus stands like Ganeshguri, and that too in an undisciplined manner covering almost the entire road at times. You are at their mercy to cross the stretch,� said Abinav Baruah, a local.
Most city buses continue to pick and drop commuters in the middle of the road and at areas other than the designated stands, in many instances under the very nose of traffic personnel.
Many bus drivers and conductors neither use seat belts nor uniform allotted to them by the transport authorities. Hardly any bus uses signal lights.
�We have to travel by city bus every day. But the experience is very nervy. The drivers drive in such a risky manner, you have to be on your toes till you reach your destination. I wonder what the traffic police is doing,� said Preeti Das, a school teacher.
Police Commissioner Hiren Nath told The Assam Tribune that the police have taken the back-to-back mishaps seriously and a special drive will be carried out against the unruly buses.
Claiming that police have been carrying out drives against over-speeding and other unruly behaviour of city buses, DCP (Traffic) Amanjeet Kaur said the exercise will be intensified.
�Despite the drives, there is a section of drivers who continue to indulge in such acts. We have also come across handymen driving the buses, because the owners keep just one driver who has to work 12/14 hours in a day,� she said, adding that a multi-pronged strategy is needed to address the problem.
Meanwhile, under fire, officials of the District Transport Office (DTO) today seized four city buses on the Ganeshguri-Khanapara route.
Officials at the DTO said the issue of unruly city buses would be taken up at a meeting convened by the Regional Transport Authority on March 22.