A 35-year-old Odisha youth who was run over by a truck in coastal Bhadrak district on Wednesday morning lied for half an hour on the road before succumbing to his injuries, but instead of taking him to a nearby hospital, the onlookers shot videos and photos of the injured man.

Devendra Sahu of Gelpur village was on his way to Bhadrak when a cement-laden truck hit him from behind on National Highway 16 near Sahapur chowk in Bhadrak and ran him over. The severely injured youth kept asking for help for over 30 minutes but the assembled onlookers kept on taking pictures and videos on their smartphones. A journalist of an Odia daily reportedly started a Facebook live from the accident spot.

The onlookers, however, informed the police who arrived around half an hour later, it was too late by then.

Atish Kumar Behera, a member of Road Safety Committee in the district said the police rushed the injured to the Bhadrak district headquarters hospital.

“It was too late for the doctors as the youth had bled a lot. He could have been saved had any of the onlookers shown the presence of mind to rush him to the hospital,” Behera said.

Though Odisha announced Good Samaritan Policy exactly 2 years ago to encourage people to come forward and help accident victims on roads, not too many people have responded well.

Under the policy, the government gives cash reward of Rs 2000 to those who help road accident cases and honours them in public functions. The policy says no government and private hospitals can detain a bystander or a good samaritan or demand payment for registration unless the good samaritan is a family member. It also said a lack of response by a doctor in an emergency situation pertaining to road accidents would constitute professional misconduct.

“We have pasted banners and posters in RTO office of the Collector office to sensitise people about the importance of acting as a good samaritan for accident victims. But it seems it would take a long time to take effect,” said Behera.

There have been some incidents where public servants acted as good samaritans. In December last year, Ganjam district collector Vijay Amruta Kulange had rescued a road accident victim.

In July last year, Rayagada superintendent of police Viveka Saravana helped carry three road accident victims while he was on a routine official tour, saving their lives.

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