Transporters and truckers associations in the country, including representatives from All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), AITWA and SIMTA, on Friday had a discussion with the transport ministry regarding the safety of truck drivers in the country.
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The associations have suggested that the government curate thermal screening facilities, to be used for COVID-19 testing and detection in truck drivers at various loading and unloading points. Along with that, they have further suggested the presence of these facilities on national and state highways, after every 200 km.
The conversation on Friday took place over a video conference call with officials from the transport ministry and Minister of State, General V K Singh. The associations involved in the discussion stressed on the need to provide measures so that the truck driver community remains protected and has the confidence to return to work.
The AIMTC has also sought a relief package including suspension of toll collection on highways till October. They claimed over 90% trucks are lying idle and over four lakh truckers with goods are still stranded.
The truckers entities claimed that they they have been receiving numerous distress calls from across the nation from drivers stuck during the lockdown, seeking help.
As per Kultaran Singh Atwal, President, AIMTC, “We have suggested that big corporate linked to the transport sector can come together with government and us to create facilities for testing of drivers, providing sanitising facilities and to ensure social distancing is maintained.”.
He added, “We have sought immediate rescue and relief package from government including demand of average Rs 15,000 per month for the truck and bus drivers to sustain their families on basis of documents like driving licences and Aadhaar card.”. As per claims by AIMTC, the average daily loss to truckers is estimated at about Rs 2,200 crore.
Truckers entities also cited how they are staring at drivers shortage due to strict lockdown in Mewat region of Haryana. They told ministry officials that nearly one lakh truck drivers come from this region.