Twenty-four migrants were killed and many were injured when a truck they were travelling in collided with another truck at around 3 am in a town in Uttar Pradesh, about 200 km from the state capital Lucknow. This is the latest incident where stranded migrant workers – left jobless due to the coronavirus lockdown – have been killed in an accident while trying to return home.
Some migrants who started their journey from Rajasthan were joined by others from Haryana and they were headed to their villages in Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, according to the officials. Desperate to return home, they hitched a ride on a truck that was transporting wheat packets. The collision was reported in UP’s Auraiya district.
Distressing visuals of chaos from the accident site showed injured labourers getting help from locals and policemen after the accident.
A large number of policemen can be seen carrying out rescue operations; some of them can be seen pulling out the food packets.
“Honourable Chief Minister has taken note of the unfortunate incident in Auraiya. He has expressed his deepest condolences to the families of the labourers who lost their lives. He has also directed that all the injured be provided medical care immediately and the Commissioner and IG Kanpur to visit the site and give the report on the cause of the accident immediately,” a statement from Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s office read.
The Chief Minister had yesterday appealed to the migrants in the state to avoid travelling on their own. “I appeal to all migrant workers to not walk or travel on their own. Inform our nodal officers, they will help&provide you transport for free. All officials have been directed to take migrant workers entering the state to quarantine centers&be provided comfort,” he said.
Specials buses and trains are being organised for those stranded due to the nationwide shutdown yet many are still undertaking journey of hundreds of kilo foot with their families.
On Thursday, six migrant workers were run over by an Uttar Pradesh government bus on a highway in the state’s Muzaffarnagar district. Two workers were injured. They had been walking to their hometowns in Bihar from Punjab. The police said the bus was empty and the driver has been arrested.
Four migrants on the move, including a woman and her daughter, travelling thousands of kilometres to their villages amid the coronavirus lockdown, were killed in separate road accidents earlier this week.
Last week, 16 migrant workers in a group of 20 were killed after a cargo train ran over them while they were sleeping on the tracks in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad.
The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed a petition that asked that the centre be ordered to provide food and water to migrants on the move. “It is impossible for this court to monitor who is walking and not walking,” the top court said.
“Let the state decide. Why should the court hear or decide?” the court said during the hearing.