At least 30 Indian migrant workers were killed yesterday in road accidents as they tried to return to their home villages during a nationwide coronavirus lockdown, officials said.
The accidents, in central and northern India, were the latest involving some of the millions of labourers left stranded and jobless by the seven-week shutdown.
In the most deadly incident, a truck carrying about 40 labourers struck another vehicle also carrying workers and their families that was parked at a roadside cafe in Uttar Pradesh, local magistrate Abishek Singh told AFP.
At least 25 were killed and 30 injured.
It is thought the driver of the truck had fallen asleep, Singh said. The vehicle was carrying lime powder which suffocated many of those who died, all of whom were men, he added.
A drunk driver was blamed for the second accident, in Madhya Pradesh, when a truck bringing labourers back from neighbouring Maharashtra state overturned, local official Shashi Mishra said. Four of the five dead were women and 17 people were injured, he added.
The incidents came after sixteen were killed this month when a train ran over them as they slept on a railway track.
The government is also battling a surge in coronavirus cases in major cities such as Mumbai and New Delhi as it prepares to ease the lockdown.
Cases in India rose by nearly 4,000 overnight to 85,940, eclipsing the number officially registered in China -- where the pandemic started late last year. India's death toll is 2,752, while China's stands at 4,633.