It is a normal day at the government bus stand in Thrissur. With buses moving in and out of the depot with busy passengers onboard, the tragedy that occurred on Sunday morning seems to have blown over with the heavy monsoon showers.
Two visually-challenged cricketers were run over by a low-floor AC bus of the Kerala Urban Road Transport Corporation (KURTC) at the bus stand on Sunday morning. Hailing from Palakkad district, Ratheesh (29) and Vinod (33) were heading to Kochi in Ernakulam district for a meeting. When they were on the platform, a Volvo bus parked at the platform crossed the barricade and advanced towards the passengers standing at the platform. The bus was supposed to be reversed, but the driver accidentally put the car into the wrong gear.
Other passengers ran helter skelter and managed to escape the out of control bus. Unaware of the events, Ratheesh and Vinod were knocked down by the bus that crashed the controlling inspector's cabin before coming to a halt.
Ratheesh and Vinod are members of the Dragon Stars cricket team under the Cricket Association for the Blind in Kerala (CABK), which began functioning in 2012. The last match the duo played was at the All Kerala Tournament held in April-May. "They were both great players and had put in a lot of effort to build up the team," Rajanish Henry, General Secretary of CABK told The News Minute.
Traffic sub-inspector Mahendra Simhan said that the driver was taken into custody and later released on bail. He said that the charge sheet was likely to be filed within a month. Preliminary investigation of the CCTV footage in the Volvo suggested that the accident happened due to human error.
The Depot Engineer at the station said that the driver has years of service and that he is not inexperienced. He vouched for the training given to him to drive the Volvo bus. "Though the driver had been given a five-day training which was held in Bangalore three months back, the gap is believed to have taken its toll. The driver could not cope up with the technology-based technique of driving a Volvo, leading to the mishap," the traffic SI claimed. â€śA tender has been called to rebuild the damaged walls at the depot," Assistant Transport Officer KN Vishwanathan said.
However, such urgency cannot be seen when it comes to announcing compensation to the families of the deceased. While Vishwanathan and the Depot Engineer "waited for orders from the authorities regarding compensation to the deceased and one injured," Thrissur Zonal officer KP Vincent said that the corporation is yet to take any decision regarding the same.
Rajanish, who attended Vinod's funeral held at his home in Palakkad, said that as the association is not financially sound to help the families, they will approach the transport minister Aryadan Muhammed with a plea for financial assistance for the playersâ€™ families.
Out of the 8 teams under CABK, Ratheesh was the manager of Palakkad blind team and Vinod was a player. â€śEven after such a tragedy, the government has not yet announced compensation to their families," Rajanish said.