Bhubaneswar: In a tragic road incident, eight persons including three women died while 12 others sustained serious injuries on National Highway 20 near Ghatagaon in Keonjhar district of Odisha on Friday.
The deceased belonged to four villages — Podamari, Batagada, Palajhadi and Dekhali — of Ganjam district.
Inspector In-Charge of Ghatagaon police station said that at least 21 persons including several children from Ganjam were going to the Tarini Temple at Ghatagaon of Keonjhar district in a Tata Winger van.
“The vehicle rammed into a cement laden truck parked at a turning point around eight kilometers far from the shrine at 4.30 am on Friday. The accident was so severe that seven persons died on the spot. The driver of the TATA Winger fled from the spot after the incident. Rash and reckless driving by the accused driver might be the reason behind the tragic mishap,” the police officer said.
Meanwhile, a 5-year-old child undergoing treatment at the Community Health Center at Ghatagaon succumbed to the injuries a few minutes later.
Around eight injured persons have been rushed to Keonjhar District Headquarters Hospital while three critically injured persons have been shifted to SCB Medical College at Cuttack.
Sources said that the accused driver has reportedly surrendered before the police as well.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has expressed grief over the tragic road accident and has announced compensation of Rs 3 lakh each for the relatives of deceased persons from the Chief Minister’s relief fund.
The Chief Minister has directed the hospital authorities to provide adequate treatment to the injured persons.
Two more persons have died in different road accidents in Bhadrak and Sambalpur districts of the state. Five persons from Bhadrak were going towards Dhamnagar when their car crashed into a truck stationed on National Highway 16 near Aradi Chowk of Bhadrak district late Thursday night.
In another incident, the driver of a container died after a head-on collision with a speeding truck coming from the opposite direction on National Highway 53 at Chinimahul village in Jamankira area of Sambalpur district.
Notably, the government had earlier announced to observe ‘Zero Fatality Week’ from December 1 while on the first day of the week the state witnessed three tragic road mishaps.