April 21, 2021 4:11:09 am
Three migrant workers were killed and at least seven injured in Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior district after the heavily overcrowded bus they were travelling in overturned on an accident-prone stretch at Jourasi Ghati around 8.30 am Tuesday.
Local police said the bus was carrying around 100 migrant workers who were returning to their homes in villages across Tikamgarh from Delhi where the government had imposed a weeklong lockdown the previous day. A passenger told reporters that the bus was carrying around 350 people.
Police said they are ascertaining the allegation levelled by several passengers that the driver was under the influence of alcohol, and that the bus had hit a truck earlier. The driver is absconding, they said.
The dead have been identified as Mukesh Dimer (26), Matadin Ahirwar (37) and Jitendra Ahirwar (22). Officials said the injured were rushed to
J A Hospital in Gwalior, and that two buses were arranged for passengers stranded at the spot
to proceed on the journey.
Dimer’s wife Abhilasha, who was returning with him, was among those injured. Based on her complaint, the police have registered a case against the bus driver under IPC sections related to rash driving and endangering lives.
The accident carried an echo of several such incidents that followed the exodus of migrants from Delhi and Mumbai last year after the national lockdown was imposed in March.
Dimer’s father, Asharam Raikwar, told The Indian Express that his son and wife worked as labourers in Delhi earning Rs 300 a day and decided to return to their village to avoid the problems they had faced during the national lockdown last year.
“He had called me yesterday and said they were leaving as they were again putting a lockdown. During the lockdown last time, they had to walk for five days to reach home and so I asked him to come soon,” Asharam, 65, said. Mukesh and Abhilasha have two sons, one aged five and the other just three.
Officials and passengers said the bus had set out from Sarai Kale Khan in Delhi and was carrying migrant workers bound for Tikamgarh, Chhatarpur and other adjoining regions. Several of them were sitting on top of the packed bus.
Speaking to reporters, Ganpatlal Ahirwar, a mason who was travelling on the bus, said: “There were 350 people in the bus and we were made to pay Rs 700 per person. The driver had stopped the bus near Dholpur and both he and conductor were drunk. He had hit a truck earlier. The truck driver took the key of the bus and we somehow managed to retrieve it from him.”
Speaking to The Indian Express, Anil Singh Bhadoria, Station House Officer from the local Bhilow police station, said: “We are contacting the owner of the bus and the driver will soon be arrested. The accident occured at a steep turn in Jhourasi Ghati, which has a downward gradient making it difficult for drivers. There have been at least 15 accidents at the same turn.”
On Tuesday afternoon, another accident occurred about 500m from the spot, resulting in the death of a local resident. Bhadoria said police had written a letter to the officials concerned about this stretch.
On May 8, 2020, 16 migrant workers — part of a group of 20 headed towards villages in MP and who were resting on the tracks — were run over by a goods train in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad district.
Eight days later, around 2.30 am on May 16, a least 24 migrant workers were killed and 37 injured when a truck coming from Delhi hit a parked tractor trolley from Rajasthan in Uttar Pradesh’s Auraiya district.
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