On bed number 44 at the Uttar Pradesh University of Medical Sciences in Etawah’s Saifai, some 80 km from the spot where two vehicles carrying migrants collided early on Saturday, lies Kranti (31) with her three children, Rahul (10), Neeraj (5), and Gauri (2).
Kranti and her children had left Ghaziabad along with her husband Govind Khushwaha (34) and brother-in-law Dasarath Khushwaha (24). Dasarath was one of the 27 people who were killed in the mishap on the highway at Auraiya. His remains were sent to their village on Sunday; he was cremated on Monday.
The family of six, which rented a two-room home in Indrapuram in Ghaziabad, had paid Rs 1,500 per adult and Rs 700 for every child to get on to the truck around 6 pm on Friday. There were some 20 people on the vehicle, which was supposed to drop them to their village in Chhattarpur, Madhya Pradesh.
“We had waited for so long,” Kranti said. “My husband Govind used to work as a guard in a colony. He lost his job in March after the lockdown was announced. We had no food or money. For how much longer could we have waited in Ghaziabad?”
All three of her children were injured in the crash, Kranti said. “My daughter has an injury on her chin, and my sons have injuries on their legs.”
Govind, her husband, said: “Our money had run out. We are not rich people, we have no savings, and we were finding it difficult to manage two square meals a day. Even if we (the adults) endured the hunger, our children could not sleep hungry.”
They had tried repeatedly to get on to the trains the government was running, but failed, Govind said. “We tried to get tickets for the trains, but could not get them. We made several calls to helpline numbers, but could not get tickets. We had no option but to leave.”
His brother, Dasarath, used to work as a daily wager in Ghaziabad, Govind said. “Dasarath had had no income for the past two months. His body was sent to the village in a government vehicle.”
Dasarath is survived by his wife Babita and a one-year-old daughter, Govind said.
Govind and Kranti do not really know how the collision happened. “Hum gehri neend mein thay (We were all fast asleep),” Govind said. “I heard shouts and screams for a few moments, and I could not breathe. Then I became unconscious.” he said. Govind has bandages on his head and hand.
Chief Medical Superintendent Dr Aadesh Kumar said: “A total 31 patients are currently admitted in this hospital. After the accident, 33 people were brought here for treatment, two of whom have since succumbed to their injuries.”
Dasarath was one of them — he died in the hospital on Saturday; the other injured person died on Sunday night.
“They had head injuries and were on ventilator support,” Dr Kumar said. “Three people are still critical with injuries on their chest and head. One of them has multiple fractures in the ribs; another has a fractured spine. The other 28 patients are stable, and will be discharged in the coming days,” he said.
Most of the victims sustained injuries in the head and ribs, Dr Kumar said. There are seven children, six women, and 18 men among the 31 patients admitted to the hospital now, he said.
All those who were admitted to the hospital were also tested for the novel coronavirus, Dr Kumar said. “All have tested negative,” he said.
On another bed lay Dhananjay Kalindi (40), who was in the other vehicle – a trailer truck that was carrying some 45-50 people.
Kalindi has injuries on his face. He had got on to the trailer truck loaded with wall putty from Bharatpur on Friday evening. He was accompanied by some others who, like him, worked at a marble factory in Jaipur. “I don’t know if the others are alive or dead. I don’t know where my phone is. We were very tired, and were asleep on the trailer,” he said.
“I remember hearing cries for help. Something very heavy had fallen on me, and I could not move at all. I don’t know how I survived.”
Dhananjay said has two children aged 14 and 12. His family lives in Bokaro, Jharkhand. On Friday morning, he had started from Jaipur along with around 25 others in a bus. At Bharatpur, he had boarded the truck that was supposed to drop him to Gaya in Bihar, about 225 km from Bokaro.
Probe Ordered into bodies being sent in Trucks
Auraiya: District Magistrate (DM) Abhishek Prakash on Monday ordered a probe after photos went viral on social media purportedly showing the bodies of the Auraiya accident victims being taken in a truck.
In a statement to the media, the DM said, “…photo that went viral, (in this) this issue, a probe will be done and those responsible will face action.”
Express News Service