Kochi’s Madavana turns accident hotspot; Kallada bus mishap leaves local residents shocked

Kochi’s Madavana turns accident hotspot;  Kallada bus mishap leaves local residents shocked

Kochi: The Kallada bus accident that claimed one life and injured several passengers on Sunday triggered discussions on the signal junction at Madavana which is already known as an accident hotspot. But the residents attest that this is the first time such a horrifying incident has occurred here. According to eyewitness accounts, the rear end of the bus was thrown into the air, crashed into the road median and smashed the signal lights. The bus then fell onto its left side. With the bus lying across the road, traffic along the stretch came to a complete halt.

It took the authorities almost ten minutes to bring a crane to the accident site, and considerable time and effort were needed to recover the damaged bus. The operation was further delayed as people gathered at the junction, prompting police intervention. This incident marks the fourth time a vehicle has damaged the signal at Madavana junction. A few days ago, a KSRTC bus smashed the signal, which was then reinstalled, only to be damaged again in this accident.

The signal at Madavana is a standard signal that does not indicate the time left for each light. Locals have requested the immediate reinstallation of the signal to prevent further accidents. They also requested that the new signal include a timer to show the duration of each light. Residents note that the deterioration of the bitumen seal on the road at the junction also contributes to accidents.

Autorickshaw drivers rush in instantly
Autorickshaw drivers at the junction here were the first to rush to the accident scene and initiate a rescue mission. The first responders were identified as Jabbar, Rajan, Sasi, Rajesh, Aneesh, Dileep, and Sagin. They were soon joined by the local residents and the police. Their initial efforts were directed at rescuing passengers trapped inside the damaged bus. Unable to open its emergency door, the rescuers then broke open a window at the rear and brought out all 42 passengers.

KM Raju of Puthiyedathu in Panangad said he heard a loud noise when the bus stopped abruptly to avoid hitting the rear of a car that suddenly entered the National Highway from Maramathu Road in Panangad. Raju, a green activist, was on his way to plant mango tree saplings by the roadside as usual when the accident took place. The sight of the bus overturning, he said, was indeed shocking. He narrowly escaped the accident as he stood on the other side of that car. Raju was the first to alert the police about the accident and also participated in the rescue mission.

Closed emergency door
The emergency door of the Kallada bus involved in the accident was locked using glass and a ladder across it. This prompted the rescuers to break open the glass to bring out the trapped passengers.

Although CCTV cameras are installed at the junction, the police maintain that they are not operational. The cameras installed at nearby commercial establishments do not cover the junction either. Kundannur Junction, which experiences much heavier traffic, also lacks CCTV cameras.

The police reiterate that the absence of CCTV camera networks at these junctions severely hampers investigations, yet no steps have been taken to address this issue. As no camera footage was available, the police booked a case on the Madavana accident solely based on eyewitness accounts. Although the authorities have installed 36 CCTV cameras in different parts of Kumbalam Panchayat at a cost of Rs. 18.65 lakhs, there are no CCTV cameras on the highway here. The cameras are linked to the Panangad police station, but the server is kept at the Panchayat office.