Two road accidents in one day in India have killed at least 39 people, including 12 children.

In one incident, 22 people, including seven children, were killed on Saturday when a van carrying Hindus returning from a pilgrimage to the Tirupati-Tirumala temple in Andhra Pradesh state lost control on a bridge and plunged into a river.

"The vehicle hit a railing, which broke under the impact of the collision and fell off the bridge," Arun Kumar, a senior state administrator, told PTI news agency.

"It's purely [a case of] negligent and rash driving. It was not a vulnerable point of the road and neither was there any traffic."

N Chandrababu Naidu, Andhra Pradesh chief minister, expressed his grief on Twitter and promised that authorities were "providing all help possible".

Narendra Modi, Indian prime minister, also conveyed his condolences via the micro-blogging site, calling the incident "saddening and unfortunate".

In a separate incident on Saturday, a head-on collision between a lorry and two tractors carrying dozens heading to a prayer ceremony killed 17 people, including five children, in northern Uttar Pradesh state, PTI cited Amit Gupta, a senior state official, as saying.

The crash, which left 30 others injured, led to anger among residents who blocked roads and pelted stones at police near Harchandpur, about 60km from state capital Lucknow.

India has some of the world's deadliest roads, with more than 200,000 fatalities annually, according to the World Health Organization.

Transport analysts attribute the huge number of accidents to poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving.

Source: AFP