Baljit Singh Kumbra, 65, the Mohali urban president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), and a motorcyclist were killed after the former’s SUV overturned due to a tyre burst in Lalru on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway on Thursday.
Kumbra’s wife Rajinder Kaur, 64, a municipal councillor in Mohali’s ward number 46, and their driver Tarsem Singh, 53, were injured in the accident. The couple lived in Sector 69, Mohali.
The deceased motorcyclist was identified as Shakti Singh, 23, a resident of Ambala. He worked in a private firm in Chandigarh and was returning to Ambala when the accident took place.
Police said Kumbra and his wife were on their way to Shahabad, Ambala, to attend the cremation of a relative. Kumbra was sitting on the front seat next to Tarsem. On their way, around 4pm the front tyre of their Toyota Fortuner car burst, causing the vehicle to overturn and jump the divider between the highway and the adjacent slip road.
The impact threw Kumbra through the front windshield, causing his head to crash on the road. His driver also sustained a head injury, while his wife suffered a fractured shoulder besides other injuries.
As the SUV jumped the divider and overturned, it landed on Shakti Singh’s motorcycle, moving on the slip road.
The four injured victims were rushed to Dera Bassi hospital where Kumbra and Shakti was declared brought dead. Rajinder and Tarsem were later shifted to a private hospital in Phase 8, Mohali.
Kumbra is survived by his wife, son Harman, who is a businessman, and a daughter who lives abroad with her husband.
“His elder son was kidnapped in 1991, and there has been no trace of him since then. Harman was born three years later in 1994,” a family friend shared.
Entered active politics after retirement
Kumbra retired as assistant manager from Punjab State Agriculture Bank in 2011. Post retirement, he stepped into active politics though he had been associated with SAD even during service and had been office-bearer of various employee unions.
Hailing from Kumbra village in Mohali, Kumbra was made organising secretary of SAD within a year, and was eventually appointed SAD Mohali Urban president in 2017.
He had also remained chairman of the Kharar market committee during SAD government’s regime in Punjab.
In 2011, Kumbra has conceived a joint action committee of all resident welfare committees in Mohali, and was its general secretary. This joint action committee ensures that the rates for conveyance deeds are implemented according to size of plots or flats.
He had recently been also raising the disparity in water tariff charged by GMADA and Mohali Municipal Corporation. He had opposed the inflated rates of water tariff being charged by GMADA for Sector 66 to 80, Mohali.
“Kumbra was active member of Kissan Hit Bachao Committee that protested against the Congress government for not meeting farmers’ demands for six years since 2002. Due to the efforts of Kumbra and Akali government’s finance minister late Capt Kawanljit Singh, GMADA introduced the land pooling scheme in 2008,” said DP Singh, convener of Kissan Hit Bachao Committee.
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