Duties of truck drivers akin to that of war soldiers, says truck driver's wife
Source: The Sangai Express
Imphal, December 04 2016:
Radhika, wife of truck driver Shyamkumar, said that her husband who has been transporting essential commodities along the National Highways for the people is very much the same as war soldier.
Speaking to The Sangai Express, Leimapokpam (O) Radhika, a 32 years old wife of L Shyamkumar, said, "My husband spends most of his time along the National Highways transporting essential commodities for the people of the State.
With frequent bandhs and blockades and other anti-social activities, there has not been a single day or night where I do not pray for his safety.
Duties of drivers are more or less like those of war soldiers.
We can never ascertain nothing will go wrong" .
Radhika said that she sometimes would think if some people might harm her husband, damage his truck or the truck might meet with an accident.
All she could do is to pray that he is safe and sound "It's hard.
With the meagre income, we are taking care of our two sons.
Earlier, my husband would get Rs 4000 to Rs 5000 per trip.
Now it is hard even to earn Rs 2000 per trip," she added.
Though Radhika is a housewife, she knows how hard drivers work not only to feed their families but also to make sure the goods they are transporting are safe.
"Drivers need to pay taxes to the Government twice.
One is while crossing Nagaland via Dimapur and the other is while crossing the State via Mao.
In between, many other people or groups would levy illegal taxes that are much higher than the amount levied by the Government," Radhika informed.
Some people would throw stones and break the truck windshield glass or injure the truck handyman.
When there is any economic blockade along Imphal-Dimapur highway, drivers would have to take Imphal-Jiribam route which is considerably more time consuming, she added.
All Manipur Transport Driver and Motor Workers' Union, Manipur general secretary Maimom Anil said that drivers have bee facing untold suffering due to frequent bandhs and economic blockades imposed by various organisations or groups along the National Highways.
The Central Government and State Government should take up steps to ensure our grievances are addressed.
He said, "We have organising Drivers' Day every year since 1990 by paying homage our drivers and handymen who have lost their lives while on duty.
As per our record, 230 drivers and handymen have so far lost their lives." Maimom Anil said that there are over ten thousand trucks which operate under the union.
According to a source from All Manipur Petroleum Tankers Drivers' Union, there are 500 tank trucks and 100 gas bullet tank truck operating under Indian Oil Corporation Ltd while 100 tank trucks are operating under the joint partnership of Bharat Petroleum (NRL) and ESSAR.