Fourteen migrant workers were killed in two separate accidents in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday evening. More than 60 people have been injured.
In Madhya Pradesh’s Guna district, eight migrant workers died and nearly 54 were injured after the truck they were travelling in collided with a bus on Wednesday night, Additional Superintendent of Police TS Baghel confirmed to ANI. The injured have been moved to a district hospital. The workers were also on their way back to their hometowns.
“The incident took place in Guna bypass road,” Superintendent of Police Tarun Nayak told PTI. “The accident took place around 3 am when a truck carrying nearly 65 migrant labourers from Maharashtra to Uttar Pradesh collided with an empty bus, which only had a driver, coming from the wrong side on Guna bypass road.”
The deceased were residents of Unnao and Raebareli districts of Uttar Pradesh. The workers injured in the accident are undergoing treatment at the Guna district hospital, he added. “A case has been registered against the bus driver and further investigation is underway.”
Guna Collector S Vishwanathan said the district administration is making arrangements to send the injured labourers to their hometowns once they recover. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan mourned the death of the labourers, and said he has directed the officials concerned to ensure proper treatment of the injured persons.
In Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district, six migrant workers died and at least five were injured late on Wednesday after a government bus ran over them on the Delhi-Saharanpur highway, PTI reported, citing the police. The victims were walking back to their hometowns in Bihar from Haryana when the incident occurred.
Senior Superintendent of Police Abhishek Yadav told PTI that the bus driver, who has been arrested, was drunk at the time of the incident.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath expressed grief over the incident and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of the deceased workers and Rs 50,000 to those who were injured. Adityanath also instructed the Sahranpur commissioner to conduct an inquiry into the incident, an unidentified official told PTI. The chief minister has directed the officials to ensure the workers receive proper medical treatment and to make arrangements for taking the bodies to Bihar, he added.
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“We received information around 11 pm that a group of persons walking on the NH [National Highway]-9 had been hit by a bus,” said Anil Kaparvan, the station house officer at Kotwali police station. “On reaching the spot, we were told by locals that the people were migrants, which we are in the process of verifying. Six people were declared dead on arrival at the hospital while two have been referred to Meerut. A case of negligence will be filed against the driver.”
Kaparvan added that the bus was not ferrying passengers and possibly being used for evacuations as no other transport was allowed to operate at the moment.
On Wednesday, the Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government had asked officials to ensure that no migrant labourers walk on the road “at any cost”, reported NDTV.
In another incident, at least two people were killed and 12 injured in a collision between a bus and a truck near Shankar Chowk in Bihar’s Samastipur, reports ANI. The bus, carrying 32 migrant workers, was on its way to Katihar from Muzaffarpur.
The nationwide lockdown that was first imposed on March 25 has been extended twice – first till May 3 and then until May 17. This left lakhs of migrant workers stranded as they struggled to make ends meet and many demanded permission to go back home.
Last month, the Centre arranged for the movement of migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and “other persons” by “Shramik Special” trains to be operated by the railways during the lockdown. However, by this time, many migrant workers had already attempted to travel home on foot, but some were stopped owing to the closure of state borders. Some also died on their way while a few others died in accidents.