More than 20 migrant labourers were killed and dozens were injured after the truck they were travelling in collided with another vehicle in Auraiya district of Uttar Pradesh early on Saturday, reports said.
The trailer truck, carrying around 50 migrant labourers, was coming from Rajasthan when it collided with a van coming from Delhi in Auraiya district’s Mihauli area, reports said.
“The incident took place at around 3:30am… Most of them are from Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal,” Abhishek Singh, Auraiya’s district magistrate, was quoted as saying by ANI.
“Twenty-four people were brought dead, 22 have been admitted and 15 who were critically injured have been referred to Saifai PGI,” Archana Srivastava, Auraiya’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO), said, according to ANI.
Chief minister Yogi Adityanath has taken note of the accident in Auraiya and expressed his deepest condolences to the families of the labourers who lost their lives, Awanish Awasthi, the additional chief secretary (home), said.
The chief minister has also directed that all the injured must be provided with medical care immediately and the commissioner and inspector general of police (Kanpur) to visit the site and give a report on the cause of the accident immediately, Awasthi said.
Tens of thousands of people have been walking home from big cities after being laid off because of the lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) since late March.
Millions of workers were left without work across cities and towns in India when the lockdown was announced on March 24, resulting in the first wave of workers going back to their villages.
Every phase of the extension has seen a new wave—the lockdown was extended twice, from April 14 to May 3 and then May 3 to May 17.
Before this, 15 migrant workers on their way back home were killed in three accidents, one each in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar earlier this week.
On May 8, 16 workers sleeping on tracks were run over by a goods train in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad district.
On May 9, five workers were killed in Madhya Pradesh’s Narsinghpur district when the truck in which they were travelling hit the central verge of the road.
Police have said close to 100 were also injured in road accidents across states on Thursday, as migrant workers continue to seek rides on trucks, cycle, or just walk on the country’s highways in a struggle to return home.
The government, starting May 1, announced special trains for migrant workers, but there are still far too few of them and far too many workers wanting to return home. Some of the workers do not have the documentation required to travel; others have not registered for the trains or buses being run.