Walking to their deaths: The terrible plight of our migrant workers on the road
New Delhi, May 14: In the past 24 hours, 14 migrant workers were killed in two separate road accidents in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
Ever since the lockdown was announced, the migrants have been the hardest hit. They have had to struggle to get back to their homes. The insecurity among them is extremely high as the lockdown has brought several activities to a grinding halt.
What is tragic is that many have lost their lives while walking back home. Last week, 16 migrants were run over by a goods train when they were making their way to Aurangabad railway station in the hope of catching a train back home in Madhya Pradesh. Reports said that they were tired and were sitting on the track.
The following day, five migrant workers were killed and 13 others were injured, when a truck they were travelling in overturned at Madhya Pradesh's Narasinghpur district. The truck was carrying mangoes from Telangana to Agra in Uttar Pradesh.
On Wednesday night 14 migrant workers were killed in two separate accidents in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Eight migrant labourers were killed in a road mishap in Madhya Pradesh. The incident took place at Guna late last night.
While eight migrant labourers were killed, at least 50 were injured in the accident. Reports said that the truck in which they were travelling in collided with a bus at Guna. The migrants were on their way home to Uttar Pradesh.
The second incident took place at Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh. Six migrant labourers were killed and four others injured when a bus ran over them at Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh, late on Wednesday night.
The group of workers were walking back to their village in Gopalganj in Bihar from Punjab after the closure of the factory where they worked.
The accident took place at Ghalauli checkpost and Rohana toll plaza on Saharanpur- Muzaffarnagar state highway at around 12.30 am.
Data compiled by Save Life Foundation says that nearly one-third of the accidents have taken place during the lockdown. The first two phases of the lockdown recorded 600 road accidents, according to the data compiled for the period from March 24 till May 3. The highest number of accidents took place in Punjab (42), following by Kerala (26) and Delhi (18).
The NGO says that of the total 137 victims during this period, 42 were migrants, 78 were driving during the lockdown and 13 were essential workers. Delhi, Maharastra, Gujarat, Assam, Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Punjab recorded over 100 of these fatalities.
The NGO which works to ensure road safety practices said that while there has been a dip in the absolute number of road crash fatalities during lockdown due to suspension of public transport and general mobility, the rate of deaths in road crashes has remained unchanged. This highlights how unsafe Indian roads are even when the majority of the country has been under restrictions, Save Life Foundation also said.