NEW DELHI: The Centre is likely to announce a series of measures including insurance cover for truck drivers and another person accompanying him, providing food at nominal price at petrol pumps and giving e-passes that drivers can show to reach their trucks.
An empowered group of secretaries has made these recommendations to the government to ensure there is no roadblock in the seamless movement of trucks. The decision on these recommendations will be taken soon, sources said.
TOI has learnt that the consumer affairs ministry has agreed to pay the premium amount for insurance cover to the driver and an accompanying staff as they are engaged in essential supply of items. Consumer affairs ministry is the nodal authority responsible for ensuring no shortage of essential items.
“Though food packets are being made available to drivers at toll plazas, there were some complaints that drivers were struggling to get food as all roadside dhabas and other eateries are shut. The group suggested petroleum and natural gas ministry should take the responsibility of ensuring food for drivers at very affordable rate,” said a source.
To address the complaints and concerns of truck owners that the drivers are facing problem when they are trying to reach the stranded trucks due to enforcement of total lockdown, the panel has suggested that e-passes can be issued to the driver and another staff, which they can show to enforcement personnel.
Sources said all modalities are being worked out. The insurance regulator, IRDA will decide what will be the premium once a decision is taken about the insurance cover.
TOI on March 30 had first reported about the proposal to give insurance cover to drivers.
The truckers’ associations have been claiming that because of prevailing fear and harassments, the availability of drivers has reduced to 15 for 100 trucks as compared to 58-60 drivers per 100 trucks before Corona outbreak.
“Many are finding reasons to return home and they are scared. While the demand for movement of essential commodities is increasing frantically, supply is not even close to matching it. Not more than 10% of trucks are running and drivers are finding ways to return home,” said an office bearer of All India Transporters Welfare Association (AITWA). He claimed that warehouses and factories where trucks need to be unload trucks were still not open.
Both AITWA and All India Motor Transport Congress, a pan-India truckers association, said instructions of MHA to allow trucks to operate have not gone down yet in many places.