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 truck cover conductors and their helpers, providing food at nominal price at petrol pumps and giving e-passes that conductors 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 learned that the consumer affairs ministry 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.

“Though food packets are being made available to conductors at toll plazas, there were complaints that conductors were struggling to get food as all roadside dhabas and other eateries are shut. The group suggested that the petroleum and natural gas ministry take the responsibility of ensuring food for conductors at very affordable prices,” said a source.

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In order to address the complaints of truck owners that their conductors are facing problems due to the lockdown, the panel has suggested that e-passes can be issued to the driver and another staff, which they can show to the enforcement personnel.

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 conductors .

Truckers’ associations have been claiming that because of alleged harassment, availability of conductors had reduced to 15 for every 100 trucks as compared to 58-60 conductors per 100 trucks before the coronavirus outbreak.

“Many are finding reasons to go home and are afraid. While demand for commodity movement 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 office. Wellness association (AITWA) He claimed that the warehouses and factories where the trucks need to be unloaded were not open.

Both AITWA and All India Motor Transport Congress , a pan-India truckers’ association, alleged that instructions of the home ministry to allow trucks to operate are not being followed on the ground at many places.