While Sreepriya had a narrow escape when her vehicle hit a pothole, R Umesh Kumar lost his life when he fell due to the same pothole.

Kochi woman escapes killer pothole Hours later it claims another life Umesh Kumar (Right) - Manorama Online
news Roads Wednesday, October 02, 2019 - 18:18

Kochi native Sreepriya Kaladharan is still not out of shock after what she went through on Monday. She had met with an accident after falling into a pothole in one of the busy stretches in Kochi, Ernakulam district. But Sreepriya’s trauma is not because she fell into a pothole while vehicles were passing by; she is rather shaken by the fact that a man was crushed to death by a bus after falling into the exact same pothole just hours after she met with the accident.

The two accidents on Monday took place on the Sahodaran Ayyappan Road stretch near Kochi’s Elamkulam. Sreepriya, who resides in Panangad, had a narrow escape, although she suffered serious leg injuries. Idukki native R Umesh Kumar, on the other hand, lost his life. According to reports, a private bus ran over the 37-year-old Umesh, crushing his head, after he fell from his bike onto the road.

The incident grabbed attention, and went viral eventually, when Sreepriya wrote about the incident on Facebook, and tagged the Ernakulam District Collector on the post.

Sreepriya recalls the incidents to TNM.

“I was riding my two-wheeler from Panangad to Panampilly Nagar for work. The incident happened near Elamkulam. Although I saw the pothole ahead on the left side of the road, I couldn’t evade it as there were vehicles on either side. I thought I could ride over the pothole, but I lost my balance and fell on the road. Luckily, the car behind me hit the brake in time before it could hit me,” she says.

Though Sreepriya sustained injuries on her knee and lower leg, she managed to ride back to her office. “My colleagues took me to a private hospital. However, while returning to office, we saw a group of people gathered at the same spot where I fell. We learnt that two men fell from their two-wheeler due to the pothole. While one managed to escape, Umesh died on the spot,” Sreepriya recounts.

“If the pothole was filled up at least two days before the accidents, Umesh would not have lost his life. Who is going to seek justice for his family? How can you console the grieving family? I am posting this for Umesh,” Sreepriya wrote on her Facebook.

She also told TNM that witnesses at the time of the accident said that Umesh was wearing a helmet. “Yet he was killed. This could have happened to me or you. I don’t know whether anything will ever change here or authorities will wake up and take action at least now,” says a concerned Sreepriya.

Will Kochi Corporation face action?

The incidents took place just days after Ernakulam District Collector S Suhas gave a second warning to officials that they will have to face action if the roads are not repaired.

Various officials from Public Works Department, Greater Cochin Development Corporation, National Highways division, Kochi Corporation, Kochi Metro Rail Limited, Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala Ltd., Cochin Refineries Ltd., and National Highways Authority of India, had submitted photos of roads that had been rectified.

The pothole, which claimed a life on Monday, is under the charge of Kochi Corporation. According to top sources in Ernakulam District Administration, officials of Kochi Corporation will face action for the death of Umesh. “If necessary, action will be taken against the officials of Corporation after the Model Code of Conduct has been lifted after the bye-polls to the Ernakulam Assembly constituency,” an official told TNM. Bye-polls will take place in the constituency on October 24.

Read: Kochi’s infamous pothole-ridden roads: A danger to citizens and vehicles

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