Accusing the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh of being insensitive towards the plight of migrants, the state unit of the Congress on Saturday (May 16) demanded Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s resignation over the death of 24 labourers in a road accident in Auraiya.
At least 24 migrant workers were killed and 36 injured when a trailer rammed into a stationary truck, both carrying passengers, on a highway near Auraiya in Uttar Pradesh in the early hours of Saturday.
Some of the workers coming from Delhi had stopped for tea when the accident occurred between 3 am and 3.30 am on the Auraiya-Kanpur Dehat stretch of National Highway 19, police said.
21 labourers dead and several injured after the truck they were travelling in, collided with another truck in Auraiya. The injured have been shifted to hospital. They were coming from Rajasthan. pic.twitter.com/8l0QcH93Su
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) May 16, 2020
The impact of the collision, the latest in a series of road tragedies involving migrant workers returning to their villages, was so huge that both vehicles overturned and fell into a ditch.
Most of those killed were from Jharkhand and West Bengal, and some from Kushinagar in eastern Uttar Pradesh, officials said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the death of 24 migrant workers in a road accident in Uttar Pradesh and said the government is carrying out relief work in full swing.
“The accident in Auraiya of Uttar Pradesh is very tragic. The government is carrying out relief work in full swing,” the prime minister tweeted. “I express my condolences to the families of those killed and wish the injured recover at the earliest,” he said.
उत्तर प्रदेश के औरैया में सड़क दुर्घटना बेहद ही दुखद है। सरकार राहत कार्य में तत्परता से जुटी है। इस हादसे में मारे गए लोगों के परिजनों के प्रति अपनी संवेदना प्रकट करता हूं, साथ ही घायलों के जल्द से जल्द स्वस्थ होने की कामना करता हूं।
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 16, 2020
Trailer truck, carrying around 50 migrant labourers, was coming from Rajasthan when it collided with DCM van coming from Delhi, police added.
While talking to ANI, Archana Srivastava, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Auraiya said, “24 people were brought dead, 22 have been admitted and 15 who were critically injured have been referred to Saifai PGI.”
Taking note of the incident, Uttar Pradesh Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi said, “Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath 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.”
Auraiya: Mohit Agarwal, Inspector General (IG), Kanpur inspects the spot of accident in which 24 labourers were killed, after two trucks collided with each other. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed IG Kanpur to submit a report on the cause of the accident immediately. pic.twitter.com/Dl8apzzNdU
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) May 16, 2020
Adityanath has also directed that all the injured be provided medical care immediately and ordered the Commissioner and IG Kanpur to visit the site and give the report on the cause of the accident immediately.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also expressed his deepest condolences to the families. “Pained by the news of the death of 24 labourers and injuries to many people in the accident in Uttar Pradesh’s Auraiya. I express my deepest condolences to the families of the deceased and wish speedy recovery for those injured,” Gandhi said in a tweet.
उतर प्रदेश के औरैया में सड़क हादसे में 24 मजदूरों की मौत और अनेक लोगों के घायल होने की खबर से आहत हूं।मृतकों के परिवारों के प्रति मैं अपनी गहरी संवेदना व्यक्त करता हूं और घायलों के जल्द स्वस्थ होने की कामना करता हूं।
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 16, 2020
UP Congress demands CM’s resignation
UP Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu said, “The chief minister should resign. This government is insensitive towards the (plight of) migrant labourers. Where have all the buses gone, which the UP Government claims have been pressed into service to send the migrant labourers home? The entire country is seeing this.”
“The accident is very unfortunate and saddening. I express condolence for the loss of lives, and pray for the speedy recovery of the injured persons,” he told PTI.
Lallu also said, “Yesterday the UP chief minister had said that buses have been pressed into service so that migrant labourers can reach their homes. He has been saying this for some time, but then who is responsible for this accident. The chief minister is responsible for the accident.”
The UP government meted out inhuman treatment to the migrant labourers by compelling them to walk home, he said and demanded ₹20 lakh ex gratia for the kin of the deceased and ₹5 lakh to the injured.
‘Ensure directives being implemented’
Reacting to the incident, BSP Chief Mayawati said, “Yesterday CM said that labourers who come to UP or pass through state, officers will make arrangements for their food, transit and shelter. It’s unfortunate that CM’s directions are not being taken seriously by officers because of which a big accident occurred in Auraiya.”
She also demanded Chief Minister to take action against the officers who didn’t fulfill their responsibilities. “Families of those who were killed or injured in this accident should be provided financial assistance. I express my condolences to the bereaved families,” she added.
The BSP supremo also asked the Central and state governments and the Railways to be serious over the issue of sending migrants home safely.
“The BJP and Congress are levelling charges against each other. Politics in the name of migrant labourers is not right. Congress governments in states should take care of this issue in their states. Labourers of Punjab and Haryana crossing the river in Saharanpur to reach home. Be it the Congress or BJP government they should send migrants home safely. But they are not paying attention to it,” Mayawati said.
She also appealed to migrant labourers not to try to reach home on foot, instead wait for buses and trains. “Instead of walking home, they should go to the nearest railway station. Then the government will be forced to make arrangements for them,” she said.
The BSP chief asked the government to make proper arrangement for the injured and financial assistance for the victims.
As the country is the lockdown due to coronavirus, the past few days have witnessed a slew of accidents involving migrants travelling to their home states via road.
(With inputs from agencies)