Restricted movement, wary drivers, waning supplies: this is the condition of the transportation sector in India ever since the deadly Coronavirus has spread in the country. The lockdown, although a necessary preventive measure, has adversely impacted this sector, which was already going through a slump due to the economic slowdown.
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The segment that has been affected the most is the truck driver community, seeing which the All India Motor Transport Congress, a representative body of more than 93 lakh truck drivers in the country, has demanded that the government take appropriate measures to help truck drivers stranded during the lockdown.
The association has urged that the government look into the problems being faced by truck drivers in this time, and also to provide security for the goods that they are carrying. AIMTC claims that the transportation network is moving towards a massive crisis, since truckers are stuck at remote locations, unable to move. Moreover, the fear of contracting the virus, along with inability to move to their destinations, is forcing the drivers to abandon the trucks loaded with cargo.
As per Naveen gupta, Secretary, AIMTC, “A large number of truckers are still stranded at various places without adequate food and support while at many places they have abandoned trucks with goods in absence of proper support.”.
Sensing a disruption in the supply-chain dynamics of the country, and the degrading situation of truck drivers during this crisis, Kultaran Singh Atwal, President, AIMTC, feels that the government needs to understand the gravity of the situation, and give due credit and protection to truck drivers and helpers, since they are risking their lives to transport goods across the country.
According to Atwal, “High-handedness by the personnel manning the checkposts and in some cases leading to harassment, extortion and beating of drivers, creating panic among them, is the big roadblock.”.
In order to provide due protection to truck drivers in the nation, and to motivate them to get back to their duties, the AIMTC has demanded that the government lend support to the community in the form of insurance covers amounting to Rs. 50 Lakh, similar to what is being provided to the healthcare providers, since truck drivers are performing public service as well during dangerous circumstances.