Digapahandi: In a tragic mishap, a six-year-old student was killed after he fell off a moving auto-rickshaw on his way to school near an energy station on the outskirts of this town in Ganjam district Wednesday.
The deceased was identified as Ajay Pradhan, son of Bulu Pradhan of Gudianali village under Kabisuryanagar police limits in the district and a Class I student of Saraswati Sishu Mandir.
The boy was staying in his maternal uncle’s house at Tileshwar village and studying in the school. Locals alleged that the mishap occurred due to rash driving by the auto-rickshaw driver who is absconding after the mishap.
Reports said as usual Ajay was travelling in an auto-rickshaw along with 15 other children to the school when he fell off the vehicle after losing his balance and sustained critical injuries on head. Ajay was sitting on the edge of the seat in the auto-rickshaw, which was overloaded. The locals immediately rushed him to the Digapahandi community health centre (CHC), where he succumbed to his injuries while undergoing treatment.
The death of the kid triggered tension among locals as they staged a road blockade on Chikiti-Digapahandi main road outside the hospital. The road blockade disrupted vehicular traffic on the route. They demanded strict action against the auto-rickshaw driver and school authorities for the fatal incident.
As per traffic norms, a maximum of five children aged below 14 years or not more than three adult passengers can travel in an auto-rickshaw. However, many vehicles are seen defying norms with impunity and carrying passengers like sardines.
The agitators relented after Digapahandi police intervened. Police seized the auto-rickshaw and launched a manhunt to nab the absconding driver after sending the body for post-mortem. A condolence meeting was held in the school.