Accidents between Delhi, UP killed 28 migrant workers in 1 month
The Delhi traffic police’s control room received 12 calls about such accidents while NHAI’s highway patrolling teams recorded 20 such mishaps even as some of them were not fatal.Updated: May 21, 2020 02:08 IST
At least 32 accidents involving speeding vehicles hitting migrant labourers returning to their homes from the national capital to Uttar Pradesh alone left 28 people dead from April 15 to May 15, according to Delhi traffic police and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) data.
The Delhi traffic police’s control room received 12 calls about such accidents while NHAI’s highway patrolling teams recorded 20 such mishaps even as some of them were not fatal.
“The number of migrant workers that have met with accidents while walking back home could be higher. These are just those that have come to the notice of our patrolling teams,” said an NHAI official on the condition of anonymity. The official said the migrant workers are at a greater risk of being hit by speeding vehicles along dimly-lit highways.
Officials said NHAI has increased the presence of its patrolling teams along these routes to ensure accidents are prevented as the pedestrian movement has increased.
Many workers prefer to walk or cycle after sundown as the mercury has begun to hover over 40 degrees Celsius. Some of them tend to sleep without realising the risks of speeding vehicles. “In Delhi, our PCR [police control room] vehicles are doing rounds of the city through the night and anyone found sleeping on roadsides and at risk is taken to shelter homes to ensure their safety,” said Delhi police spokesman MS Randhawa.
Migrant workers left jobless by the lockdown imposed in late March to check the Covid-19 spread have continued walking and cycling back to their homes from big cities like Delhi even as buses in late April and special trains have been arranged for them since May 1. Some workers have been unable to get tickets for these trains since they do not have identity documents while several states have also been unable to arrange enough trains to take them home. Scores of home-bound migrant workers have died in accidents across the country.
The Delhi traffic police said a migrant worker died a day after a speeding car hit two migrants cycling back to their homes along the Delhi-Meerut expressway near Delhi’s Commonwealth Games Village on May 2. A 26-year-old worker was injured in a similar incident on April 28 near Patparganj. At least two accidents have been reported from highways in Uttar Pradesh after May 15. Around 24 migrant workers trying to return home were killed when two lorries crashed into each other in Uttar Pradesh’s Auraiya district on Saturday.
Three women were killed and a dozen were injured on Monday when a truck carrying 17 migrant workers, who had walked from Delhi to Harpalpur and then boarded this vehicle, overturned along the Jhansi-Mirzapur highway.