Two among the injured are said to be critical, they added.
Kanpur Outer's Superintendent of Police (SP) Ashtbhuja Prasad Singh said a speeding bus hit a loader, which fell on the other side of the highway, while the bus also overturned and fell into a ditch.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 2 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased and ordered an inquiry into the accident.
The collision was so strong that almost all passengers of the bus got trapped and sustained serious injuries, the SP said.
GSVM college principal RB Kamal told PTI over the phone that at least 16 people were killed, while five were admitted at the Lala Lajpat Rai (LLR) hospital with serious injuries.