As many as 15 migrant workers were crushed to death, including six who were from the same family, after an out-of-control truck ran over them as they slept on a pavement in India’s western state of Gujarat on Tuesday morning.
Six people were injured in the accident and some remain critical, according to Gujarat police. The truck driver and his assistant were among those who sustained injuries.
The truck, loaded with sugarcane, was coming from the opposite direction when it lost control and veered off the road, running over the pavement, the Gujarat police said in a statement.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi condoled the incident and said the loss of lives was tragic.
“The loss of lives due to a truck accident in Surat is tragic. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. Praying that the injured recover at the earliest,” he said in a tweet.
He also announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 200,000 (£2,007) each for the family members of those who were killed in the accident and Rs 50,000 (£501) each for those who were injured. The Gujarat government also announced a similar ex-gratia payment.
The victims were from Banswara district of Rajasthan and six of the deceased migrants are said to be members of a single family.
Indian cities, including metropolitan cities of Delhi and Mumbai, have a large population of people – either homeless or migrant workers – sleeping on pavements and even on road dividers. They brace harsh weather conditions and remain at risk of accidents.
Earlier this year when the Indian government announced a lockdown due to Covid-19, at least 16 people were killed after a freight train ran over them in Maharashtra. The workers were asleep on railway tracks while taking a long journey to their hometowns from cities on foot, in absence of public transport.
In another incident during the same period, six migrant workers were ran over by a speeding bus.