1 Jun 2020

Transporters seek special health cover for truck drivers

The All India Transporters’ Welfare Association (AITWA) has urged the government to announce a special insurance cover to incentivise and attract truck drivers back to work.

Truck drivers should also be considered as frontline warriors trying to put the economy just such as doctors and health workers fighting the Covid pandemic.

In March, the government had announced a health insurance cover of 50 lakh per person to frontline health workers — sanitation staff, paramedics and nurses, Asha workers and doctors working to tackle the Covid illness and face the highest risk of contracting the illness.

Mahendra Arya, President, All India Transporters’ Welfare Association, said drivers need to be motivated to resume to the work and this can be done by providing incentives in the form of health insurance from the government, so that their family is assured of certain compensation in an unfortunate event.

The road transport sector is different from many industries, as it pays taxes upfront in many ways without any link to business or profitability as compared to organised sector, he said.

AITWA had apprised ministries about the turmoil in the road transport sector due to the ongoing pandemic.

Driver exodus

Transporters fear that exodus of migrant workers back to their respective States will further add to their trouble as the shortage of drivers could be more acute.

“Post Government plan to resume supply chain from April 20, there are just 30 per cent transport vehicles on the road. With special trains now running to ferry migrants to their States, a few drivers who were riding the trucks will also disappear and the percentage of trucks on the road may further come down to 20 per cent. This will lead to distribution in supply of essential goods,” he said.

The sudden national lockdown stranded drivers and compelled them to desert the trucks they were riding at the transit, added Arya.