At least 42 migrant workers died in road accidents while attempting to return home during the coronavirus lockdown, shows a report released by the Save Life Foundation.
The report details road crashes that took place since the lockdown was announced on March 24 till May 3. A total of 140 people died in road accidents across India during this period -- and 30% of these deaths were of migrant workers who were walking, or trying to reach their home states by hiding in buses and trucks. The report says eight of the migrant workers died after being hit by trucks and speeding cars.
The report says as many as 600 road accidents were recorded across the country during the two phases of Lockdown.
Apart from 42 migrant workers, 17 essential workers also died in road accidents.
“These numbers should be treated as the minimum numbers since we did not get replies from several states and believe some single-fatality crashes may not have been written about,” Save Life Foundation CEO Piyush Tewari.
Of the 140 fatalities, over 100 were reported from nine states of Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Assam, Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Punjab and Tamil Nadu. Punjab has reported the maximum number of people dying in road accidents during the lockdown, followed by Kerala, Delhi and Karnataka.
“India suffers the highest number of road crashes deaths each year. While there is an obvious dip in the fatalities during the lockdown period, 140 deaths in 600 crashes shows that the death to crashes ratio is as usual. Our governments should use the lockdown to fix engineering faults in our roads and institute mechanism of electronic enforcement so that once the lockdown ends, we can keep road fatalities low,” Tewari said.