'Victimised ' drivers threaten stir
Source: The Sangai Express
Imphal, August 08 2011:
Drivers have warned of launching cease work strike if the Government could not ensure full protection of the trucks transporting essential goods for the people taking due consideration of the ongoing indefinite economic blockade imposed along the National Highways over the demand for upgradation of Sadar Hills into a full-fledged revenue district.
A joint meeting of various Drivers' Associations has discussed the problems being faced by the truck drivers on account of the ongoing economic blockade/general strike.
The presidents/secretaries of Manipur Drivers' Welfare Association, Imphal; Silchar Road Transport Welfare Society; All Manipur Petroleum Tanker Drivers' Union and All Manipur Inter-State Bus Association attended the meeting.
Talking to mediapersons after the meeting at the office of Manipur Drivers' Welfare Association located at Tera Lukram Leirak, president of Manipur Drivers' Welfare Association Bhupenchandra Ghosh asserted that the drivers have been made the sacrificial lamps.
He recalled that, on August 2, one Chandra, who is the driver of oil tanker MN01-4211 transporting diesel slowed down the vehicle to negotiate a speed breaker near Kanglatongbi IB.
But taking advantage of the situation, blockade supporters climbed on board and hit him with stones on his head.
As a result, Chandra had to be hospitalised.
Similarly, on August 3, Md Rahaman, the driver of Tata truck (A525B/5682) which had gone alone Imphal-Jiri Road to lift rice had to be admitted to Shija Hospital in a serious condition after he was attacked with stones while getting down from the truck near Keithelmanbi.
Many other drivers have also sustained injuries in the stone attack of the blockade supporters.
However, in all these cases, the Government has not extended any financial assistance towards treatment of these drivers who have been risking their lives to transport essential commodities of the people, Bhupenchandra lamented.
If the demand for upgradation of Sadar hills into a full-fledged revenue district is to be granted, then it should be done at once.
Otherwise, the Government should make its decision known to the people, he demanded adding that making the innocent drivers sacrificial lambs in the confrontation between the blockade sponsor/supporters and the Government is not acceptable.
Furthermore, Bhupenchandra demanded that along with ensuring adequate escort and ROP duty, recover van and ambulance should be include in the convoy.
In case the Govt is not going to ensure full protection of the drivers and extend necessary financial assistance in case of casualties, the aggrieved drivers may be compelled to cease work.
The truck owners should also not insist upon the drivers to continue with their service in due consideration of the casualties suffered by the innocent drivers, Bhupenchandra added.