Following the state bus plunge in Murshidabad that killed at least 42 persons on Monday, leaders of the Indian National Trinamul Trade Union Congress of North Dinajpur district have asked drivers of buses, trekkers, cars and auto rickshaws to stop using their mobile phones while driving.

Survivors of the accident at Daulatabad in Murshidabad have confirmed that the bus driver had been continuously talking on his mobile phone before the bus crashed onto the railings of the bridge and fell into the river.

A large section of the people in North Dinajpur districton Tuesday expressed sadness at the accident and urged the police and the district administration to be more careful when it comes to such negligence from drivers.

“We very often come across drivers who use mobile phones while driving. It may result in such a disaster. We will be warning drivers who are seen using their phones while driving. We have sent notices to all our offices in the district regarding this. Our local leaders have also been told to act strictly against the same,” said the president of the North Dinajpur INTTUC committee, Arindum Sarkar.

“Conductors and passengers have also been asked to keep a watchful eye on the drivers. If any driver violates the order, the assistants and conductors have been asked to inform us. The passengers may also inform our party members if they find drivers acting careless while driving.

Drivers violating the rules will be suspended from work for 10 to 30 days. Negligence of duty at the cost of the lives of the passengers will be seriously looked into,” added Mr Sarkar. General Secretary of the West Dinajpur Chamber of Commerce, Shankar Kundu, said, “We welcome the decision of the INTTUC. Motorcycle riders in Raiganj and other places of our district are usually found talking on their mobile phones while driving.

Why are the police silent to all this? Innocents are either getting injured or dying because of the recklessness of such drivers. We will seek help from police and the administration to put a check on the matter. Police should declare a toll free number where one can inform of such reckless drivers. In addition, the administration should hold seminars to make people aware of the issue.”