In a tragic accident, around 25 migrant workers were killed and 40 others were injured after a truck rammed into a DCM lorry they were travelling in, on the morning of May 16.
The migrants, who were all natives of Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Kushinagar in eastern Uttar Pradesh, were coming from Rajasthan.
Auraiya survivor unable to recount events
The accident survivor, Vandana, was in shock and said, "I was sleeping and don't know what happened." She was among the 22 occupants of the truck, which had stopped at the eatery, as they wanted to have some tea.
"I got up with a jerk and fell down from the truck," she said before becoming unconscious.
Rescue workers and locals were toiling to remove the sacks of lime powder using JCB machines and pull out the people buried underneath after a trailer rammed into a stationary truck near an eatery and both the vehicles overturned at around 3 am on the Auraiya-Kanpur Dehat stretch of National Highway 19.
Rucksacks and packets of food lay strewn at the site, telling the grim story of how, like lakhs of other migrant workers across India, these people had hitched rides on the two vehicles in their desperation to reach home during the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
The trailer was carrying sacks of lime powder on which the around 40 workers were sleeping when it crashed into the stationary truck, officials said.
The truck was carrying around 22 people, including five women and seven children, officials said.
The highway has agriculture fields on both sides. Hearing the impact of the collision, villagers rushed to the site and helped the police and district administration officials in the rescue work.
Both vehicles overturned after the crash.
Five of those brought here are in a very serious condition and one of them has been put on ventilator. Two of them have head injury," Vice-Chancellor of Saifai Medical University Dr Raj Kumar told news agency PTI.
Among those admitted are a couple and their three children, he said.
Since the victims were coming from Delhi, all have been kept in a separate wing of the COVID hospital and the doctors incharge there are monitoring them," he said.
Circle Officer of Auraiya Surendranath Yadav said it was not clear if the drivers had survived.
"We spoke to some of the survivors of the accident. They are unable to recall how the accident took place. At this point of time, it is not clear whether the drivers of both the trucks are among the deceased or not," he told PTI.
After the incident, state police said they were taking steps to ensure that such accidents don't recur. But eyewitnesses said many trucks with migrants were still running on the highway.
Adityanath announces ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh & Rs 50k
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ordered the suspension of station house officers (SHOs) and sought an explanation from senior police officials in Agra and Mathura following the road accident Auraiya.
The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister also announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to families of the dead migrant workers and Rs 50,000 each for the seriously injured.
(With agency inputs)