19-25 December 2014 #737

Wheels of death

Kantipur, 13 November

Twenty-eight-year old Nisha Basnet was on her way home when a truck hit her scooter from behind, dragged her 50 metres further, crushing her lower body. She died the next morning.

Nisha, an employee at Paragon Travel Agency in Kamalpokhari, had made plans to celebrate new year in Thailand and was to leave for Bangkok the day of the accident but cancelled her trip after a friend couldn’t get a visa in time.

“She would still be alive if she had just gone,” says Nisha’s aunt, Henu Basnet, who was with her at Teaching Hospital. Nisha tried to get up on seeing her aunt. “They killed me,” were her last words.

It had only been a day since Nisha moved into a new flat with her brother and sister-in-law after living with her uncle for 11 years. Nisha’s parents who came from Udaypur arrived too late to see their daughter alive. Nisha’s husband lives overseas.

Just two days before Nisha’s death, another young woman lost her life in a similar accident. Twenty-one-year-old Shanta Hamal died after a bus ran over her scooter at Babarmahal. Shanta who worked in a cooperative was in the process of going to Denmark for her studies.

The week that these two accidents happened, Kamal Kiran was recording a song in memory of his wife, popular folk singer Manju Mahat, who died last year in a similar scooter accident in Samakhusi. Kamal is raising their two-year-old son.

“Whenever he sees her photo or her face on TV, he asks where’s mamu,” says Kamal of his son. Manju and Kamal had plans to release their new albums this year. Everytime Kamal sees a red scooter pass by on the road he is reminded of Manju.

After his wife’s death, Kamal filed a case against the micro van driver. While the driver is in police custody, the court has yet to issue a verdict. The court’s decision will determine if Kamal is eligible or not to receive third party insurance. The transport company paid him Rs 500,000 in compensation.

The latest accidents prompted even CA member and NC leader Gagan Thapa to post a facebook status (see adjoining piece). Thapa urges drivers to be more careful on road and says Nepalis are not yet qualified to drive. Every month, some 150 people lose their lives in road traffic accidents.

Nisha’s family has decided to donate her eyes. Said her grandfather Durga Bahadur: “We hope her eyes won’t have to see such accidents again.”

Read also:

Hit and run, Ramyata Limbu