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‘Sat on iron bars, came under them after crash’ — how 9 migrants died in Bihar truck accident

The nine migrant workers were sitting in a truck loaded with iron bars and other construction material when the accident took place around 6 am Tuesday.

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Naugachia (Bhagalpur): Tattered shoes, torn clothes and remnants of food — these were some of the things that could be seen at the site hours after an accident killed nine migrant workers Tuesday at Naugachia in Bihar’s Bhagalpur district.

The damaged truck in which the workers were travelling, sitting on a heap of iron bars and other construction materials, still lay in the ditch that it fell into after attempting to avoid a head-on collision with a bus on the National Highway-31.

The accident took place around 6 am Tuesday. The nine workers were crushed under the same iron bars they were sitting on earlier, eyewitnesses told ThePrint.

They said rescue agencies struggled to pull out the bodies from under the bars. “They died because of the iron rods on the truck. The bodies had to be pulled out with great difficulty as they were stuck under the rods,” Manju, 45, who was among the first to reach the accident spot, told ThePrint.

Niranjan Kumar, a resident of nearby Ambho village, said a JCB earth-mover was finally called in to pull the bodies out of the ditch.

Shoes one of the victims was wearing, at the accident site in Bhagalpur | ThePrint Photo | Jyoti Yadav

‘A horrible accident’

Matwari Singh, another eyewitness, told ThePrint that the sarpanch of Ambho village had informed police about the accident.

“I saw the truck at around 5 am. My home is hardly 100 m from the accident site,” Singh said. “I was alone at that time but the police and ambulance services soon arrived. All of the labourers died due to the iron rods,” he added.

“When we found out about the accident, we rushed to the site. All of them had died on the spot. It was a horrible accident,” said a 70-year-old villager, who did not wish to be identified. “We helped the police pull the bodies out from under the iron rods. I still shiver when I think of the incident.”

Nidhi Rani, Superintendent of Police, Naugachia, told ThePrint that six of the migrant workers have been identified. “A total of nine migrant workers were present in the truck, all of whom were brought dead,” Rani said. “Six of them have been identified and their bodies have been sent to their respective homes. The identification of the other three is in process and details have been sent to the respective police stations.”

Three of the victims — Jalim Miya, Mohammed Hasim and Nurjahan Miya — were from Betihari while the other three — Gushan Miya, Mohammed Rustom and Shaukat Ali — were from Motihari.

“The drivers of the truck and the bus involved in the accident had fled the spot after the collision but we are trying to track them,” the SP said. “The investigation is on. Owners of the vehicles have been contacted.”


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Ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh to families of victims

The Bihar government has announced an ex gratia amount of Rs 4 lakh per person for the families of the migrants. The government has also appealed to all migrant workers not to travel on foot, rail tracks and in trucks.

An employee of the Sub-Divisional Hospital at Naugachia, who didn’t wish to be identified, told ThePrint that only six bodies out of the nine were released to be sent home.

ThePrint witnessed the preparations being made to send the bodies of the six migrant workers to their respective homes in Bettiah and Motihari districts in ambulances, led by police escort cars around 6 pm Tuesday.

SP Rani said the bus had around 20-25 people on board, and five of them sustained injuries. “All the five had only minor injuries and went home within a couple of hours.”

The deceased workers were coming from Kolkata and had started their journey in bicycles six days ago. On the way to their native homes, they had boarded the truck.

A broken bicycle, belonging to one of the victims, at the accident site | Photo: Bismee Taskin

Also read: People in my UP village don’t want to go to ‘bade shahar’ any more


 

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1 COMMENT

  1. This poverty is due to huge population that was allowed to happen to weaken the nation and allow corruption to take over INDIA. The country needs to control population. Will people who support anti CAA Protest and self declared victims ever support population control measures to ensure people live with dignity. Or will they not have guts to live a life with scientific outlook and not be fanatics. And identity themselves with future .

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