Scores have died in road and rail accidents and even from exhaustion walking home. A drunk driver was blamed for the second accident, in Madhya Pradesh, when a truck bringing labourers back from neighboring Maharashtra state overturned, local official Shashi Mishra said.
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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 were parked at a roadside cafe in Uttar Pradesh, local magistrate Abishek Singh told AFP. Four of the five dead were women and 17 people were injured, he added.
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.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the accident “extremely tragic” in a Twitter post and said relief work was in “full swing” at the scene.
The millions of labourers, who live off subsistence wages, have become a major concern for the government as it prepares to ease the lockdown from Monday in a bid to get the economy moving again.
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