In a nationwide campaign, truck drivers across the country will now resort to a campaign to call the government’s attention to their demand for COVID insurance cover. As a symbolic gesture, transporters and truck drivers will blow their horns simultaneously across the country at 1 pm for one-minute, from 1st to 7th July.
The “ek hafte, ek baje, ek minute” (one week, one o’clock, one minute) rallying call is an effort to call the attention of the government to the plight of truck drivers who have rendered exceptional service in seamlessly maintaining the supply chain.
According to sources, a group of secretaries had mulled over the prospect of recommending ex-gratia for truck drivers transporting essential commodities throughout the lockdown but it was not implemented.
“All major truckers and transporters organisations have extended their support to this campaign”, says Mr Girish Mirchandani, convener of Driver’s Life Matters.
The government had provided insurance cover to health and sanitation workers, but the risk cover ambit did not ensure equal protection to the truck drivers, who were left out of the circle.
Since it is a long road ahead for COVID-19 to fully vanish from the scene, truck drivers and transporters will continue to risk their health in performing their regular duties, which are of absolute service to the nation. Hence, a COVID insurance cover is the least that can be done to ensure their protection, voices industry experts.
However, while calling upon people to follow the ek tarikh ko, ek baje, ek minute ke liye exercise, Chirag Katira, President of Shree Nasik Goods Transport (SNGT) and Project Head for COVID-19, All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) has appealed to the transporter fraternity that the exercise should not be done in the vicinity of any hospital, government office or social organisation.
“Our aim is to make sure that our demands and pleas are heard by the government. It is not to disturb anyone. And this aim will continue ahead, for our truck drivers who have risked their lives in facilitating seamless transport of essentials, medicines; so that they receive the insurance cover that they ardently deserve”, Katira said.
Mr Katira called for the co-operation and support of everyone in this demand to ensure that the truck drivers are benefitted from a COVID insurance cover.
Dubbed as the “backbone of the economy”, the road sector has defied every hurdle and adversity during the lockdown in ensuring seamless operations and transport.