24 killed after two trucks collide in UP's Auraiya
24 killed after two trucks collide in UP's Auraiya Image Credit: Twitter

Auraiya: At least 25 migrant workers were killed on Saturday when a truck they were packed into hit another vehicle in northern India during a nationwide coronavirus lockdown, officials said.

The pre-dawn accident in Uttar Pradesh state was the latest involving some of the millions of migrants left stranded and jobless by the seven-week shutdown.

Scores have died in road and rail accidents and even from exhaustion walking home.

The vehicle carrying about 40 men, women and children struck another truck also carrying labourers and their families that was parked at a roadside cafe in Auraiya district, local magistrate Abishek Singh told AFP.

The dead were all men, but women and children were among about 30 injured, Singh said. He said the driver of the truck was suspected to have fallen asleep.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the accident "extremely tragic" in a Twitter post. He said relief work was in "full swing" at the scene.

Many businesses shut down overnight after the government-imposed lockdown began on March 25, leaving millions of migrant workers destitute.

Desperate to return to their home states, many have walked hundreds of kilometres or hitched rides on trucks.

More than a dozen labourers were killed earlier this month when a train ran over them as they slept on a railway track. Many others have been killed in road accidents.

The crippling lockdown is due to be eased from Monday.