AIMTC seeks govt intervention for food, safety for stranded truck drivers

New Delhi, Apr 1 () Supplies in the country could be impacted due to challenges being faced by truck drivers amid the Covid-19 pandemic, transporters' body AIMTC said on Wednesday, as it sought government intervention for stranded drivers.

The All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) is the apex umbrella body of transporters representing about 93 lakh truckers pan-India.

"Proper movement of vehicles, carrying essential or non-essential goods, is not possible under the challenges like ...cases of arrest of persons providing food to stranded drivers," AIMTC said in a statement.

"AIMTC Research Unit (ARU), after talking to cross-section of transport fraternity on pan India basis came to the conclusion that there are many challenges before the transport fraternity and operations are not feasible under present circumstances," it said. Advertisement

There is no clear policy whether to run vehicles or not, especially those loaded with non-essential goods, AIMTC President Kultaran Singh Atwal said.

"High-handedness by the personnel manning the checkposts / nakas and in some cases leading to harassment, extortion and beating of drivers, creating panic among them, is the big roadblock," he added.

Even if the vehicle is made to move across a check-post or naka by talking to senior officials, it get stuck at some other place, he said, adding either the directions or updated guidelines from the top are not percolating down to the personnel on the ground or they are being wilfully ignored.

Stressing that there is an urgent need for a holistic revision of policies to streamline the system, AIMTC said transportation services cannot work in isolation without manpower or infrastructure and lack of sensitivity of officials at the ground level.

"It must be appreciated that the drivers are mainstay of the Transport Sector which is backbone of our economy and lifeline of the nation. They must be treated with sensitivity as they are also doing public service risking their lives under extreme circumstances like our doctors and health care workers," it said. To restore confidence among the 'heroes' of the transport trade -- the drivers -- and to bring them back, Rs 50 lakh insurance cover must also be extended to them as has been done for doctors and paramedics, it said.Advertisement

Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training (IFTRT) official SP Singh said a large number of truck drivers do not have social security net as they are not employed by the companies.

Last week, AIMTC had cautioned that panic among stranded truckers at various places without proper provisions could escalate the problem of drivers' shortages and cripple the supply chain. NAM NAM ABMABM

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