Don’t Collect Tolls, Address Drivers’ Concerns: Tamil Nadu Lorry Associations to Government

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Image for Representation.

Image for Representation.

Hotels, tea outlets and workshops are shut, and drivers have been pressured to handle with what they’ve, or by way of meals distributed at sure toll plazas or petrol stations.

  • Information18.com
  • Last Updated: April 18, 2020, 6:13 PM IST
  • Edited by: Anirudh SK

Driving for days with little meals. Stuck in highways unable to restore damaged down autos. Quarantined in exterior states with no approach to return. Despite being key gamers in shifting necessities, lorry drivers throughout the nation have been dealing with these and many extra points in the course of the lockdown imposed to curb the unfold of coronavirus.

Hotels, tea outlets and workshops are shut, and drivers have been pressured to handle with what they’ve, or by way of meals distributed at sure toll plazas or petrol stations. Workshops and dhabas alongside nationwide highways are set to function from April 20, which can mitigate a number of the points. However, there are loads extra considerations for the state’s truck business, which the lorry house owners’ associations need the federal government to deal with.

Among key points they wish to be addressed is the NHAI planning to renew toll assortment from April 20, and the Tamil Nadu authorities’s delay in giving them clear pointers. The lockdown has severely affected the business, with solely 10 to 20 per cent of the state’s 4.5 lakh lorries working.

There’s both no demand for operations as a consequence of shutting down of factories, or the drivers are unavailable as a consequence of worry of the virus. Even when drivers can be found, many are caught in exterior states or in different cities unable to achieve their autos.

“We are ready to help like doctors, police, corporation staff and other workers. Our drivers are ready to cooperate but the transport minister/commission has not given any guidelines,” says S Yuvaraj, president of Tamil Nadu State Sand Lorry Owners’ Federation. “They should talk to the associations and understand what the problems are.

“The authorities also needs to give the drivers consciousness on easy methods to function safely. They ought to name on the drivers to work like police, company and different staff. For now, it is all as much as the person house owners to make drivers really feel protected and persuade them to work. But when the federal government provides drivers confidence, they will really feel safer and extra drivers will come out. Once extra autos begin shifting, extra objects can be out there and costs can be in management. In the identical means, we’re prepared to hold items to different states too as an alternative of them going waste right here.”

Private truck operators, especially ones in ‘hot spots’, find it impossible to open their business unless public transport and hotels resume.

The government wants us to send private vehicles to bring staff. We have to feed them too because hotels aren’t open,” says an operator primarily based out of Coimbatore. “We have no option but to shut down our offices and godowns till normalcy resumes. Much of our business is linked to other states like Maharashtra and Gujarat, so till they open up we’ll be in trouble. It will only affect our drivers further. We can take care of them for now but we have our limits too.”

Collecting tolls in these instances will add to their woes, really feel the associations.

“We go empty to different parts of the country and bring essentials, so we are already losing out on one way’s wages,” explains Dhanraj, treasurer of the state lorry house owners federation of Tamil Nadu. “The situation will continue even after 20th. Only when industries open completely will our situation get better. For now, only essentials are allowed and most of them has already been brought in, so our work is reducing. Drivers are ready to work even in this situation, but where is the work? We are waiting for factories to open. It will take more than one year for the industry to get back to normal.

“Collecting toll now will add to our burdens. 25 p.c of our earnings go to tolls.”

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