To suit up to the growing requirement of liquid medical oxygen transport, LSC (Logistics Sector Skill Council) in association with the Government of India, is losing no time in creating a pool of trained drivers to suit up to the call of the nation at its darkest hour. Our report explores the endeavour and how it is being taken forward.
The rampage of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic had led to a staggering rise in cases- provoking a series of unforeseen problems, including the unfortunate shortage of oxygen supply that had gripped the country, especially in the metro cities.
In a bid to curb the oxygen shortage crisis that had erupted, Central and state governments had stepped up efforts for the transportation of liquid oxygen; as a consequence of which, drivers for transporting this cargo have been found wanting due to lack of skilled workers trained for the same. To augment the pool of trained drivers, LSC, in association with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and Ministry of Commerce has put forward a training programme to lend training to drivers to familiarise as well as equip them with the required knowledge for the safe transit of such cargo.
The Centre had recently issued a notification requesting States to create a pool of trained drivers and take it up as “top priority” owing to the high demand in transportation of key medical aid from different parts of the country to hospitals.
SITUATION AT HAND:
The demand for drivers who can transport critical medical equipment is expected to be high for a few more months since only trained drivers possessing the “hazardous cargo” license are allowed to operate liquid oxygen trucks. The Centre highlighted that their immediate focus is to provide the availability of around 500 drivers in the next few weeks and keep the pool ready for use at any given point of time. It has said that the number will be increased gradually to 2500 in the next few months.
LSC: GETTING DOWN TO ACTION
To cater to the call of the country, the Logistics Sector Skill Council (LSC) has immediately stepped up efforts for skilling the drivers associated with the transportation of key medical aid. After being apprised of the lack of trained drivers, LSC acted upon it immediately and managed to curate the necessary content within a week for this purpose. On May 16, the council started off with its first batch of trainees from Ashok Leyland who were imparted practical training from veteran logistics experts to suit up to the challenge ahead.
FOCUSSED TRAINING FOR DRIVERS:
While reflecting on the importance of drivers for transportation of cargo, Ramesh Venkat, Head-Industry Partnerships and Alliances, Logistics Sector Skill Development (LSC) Chennai talks about the situation and the responsibilities at hand. “We have the capacity as well as the responsibility of training at least 2500-3000 drivers for transporting critical aid such as hazardous cargo. Our competency revolves around training and skilling them for the task”, he shares.
These instructor-led four hour training programmes are aimed at skilling the drivers and deploying them, while creating bench strength devoted towards capacity building. The training is divided into two parts: One is the familiarisation programme imparted to HMV cargo drivers hailing from chemical organizations who already know how to transport the cargo, while the second part of the training is a 72- hour blended training program imparted to new drivers who are trained to accompany the main driver, creating capacity. Mr Venkat also highlights how it is imperative for drivers to be skilled, as their work involves making trips to places with high viral load such as hospitals when a vast majority of them have not even been vaccinated. As such, they need to be imparted proper training to understand the situation at hand. The main purpose behind skilling the workforce is to fully train LMO (Liquid Medical Oxygen) transportation drivers for at least a minimum of two trips. The course is mapped out digitally, and those trained under this course are certified through LSC which is valid in 8 countries outside India, shares Mr Venkat.
LSC has been working in close association with multiple organisations like the Ministry of Skill Development and Entreprenuership (MSDE), National Skill Development Council (NSDC), Indian Chemical Council (ICC), LMO manufacturers, LSPs and road safety organisations.
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