Insurance, electronic pass and affordable food for truckers and helpers at the government table

NEW DELHI: The Center is likely to announce a series of measures, including insurance coverage for trucks and their helpers, providing food at nominal prices at gas stations and giving electronic passes that drivers can show to reach their destination.

An empowered group of secretaries have made these recommendations to the government to ensure the continued movement of trucks. A decision will soon be made on these recommendations, the sources said.

TOI has learnt that the affairs 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. The ministry is the nodal authority responsible for ensuring that there is no shortage of essential items.

“Although food packages are made available to drivers at toll stations, there were complaints that drivers were struggling to obtain food as all dhabas and other restaurants on the road are closed. The group suggested that the oil and natural gas ministry take responsibility for guaranteeing food for drivers at very affordable prices, a source said.

To address complaints from truck owners that their drivers are facing problems due to the crash, the panel has suggested that electronic passes may be issued to the driver and other staff, which they can show to app staff.

Sources said all modalities are being worked out. Isurance regulator, IRDA, will decide what will be the premium once a decision is taken about the insurance cover.

TOI had on March 30 first reported about the proposal to give insurance cover to drivers.

Trucker associations have claimed that due to the alleged harassment, driver availability had dropped to 15 per 100 trucks compared to 58-60 drivers per 100 trucks prior to the coronavirus outbreak.

“Many are finding reasons to go home and are afraid. While demand for movement of essential goods is increasing, supply is not even close to matching it as no more than 10% of trucks are running, said a head of the All India Transporters' (AITWA) office. He stated that the warehouses and factories where the trucks need to be unloaded were not open.

Both AITWA and All, an association of truckers in India, alleged that in many places the instructions of the Interior Ministry are not followed to allow trucks to operate on the ground.