Its truck drivers turn to be pampered

Rajesh Kurup | Updated on October 14, 2012 Published on October 14, 2012

Truck drivers in the country have never had it so good. Pampering the men behind-the-wheels is the new paradigm across the industry.

Daimler India Commercial Vehicles, which launched trucks under the brand ‘BharatBenz’, is rolling out resting facilities — complete with bath, bed and food — at its service centres. Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland have set up training facilities for drivers, while Surat-based fleet owner Siddhivinayak Logistics has launched a scheme Chalak se Malak for drivers.

The National Skill Development Corporation estimates a demand for over 50 lakh drivers over a period of 10 years, starting 2010. The industry estimates that nearly 20 lakh vehicles are sitting idle for want of drivers. And this is forcing truck-makers and fleet owners to dole out the sops.

“In India, truck drivers have long hours, strenuous driving conditions, poor roads and difficult terrain with poor security for life. Currently, a truck is seen as an obstacle or danger on the road. We need to raise the benchmark for better quality of life for drivers in the country to ensure timely and safe delivery of the valuable cargo,” said V.R.V. Sriprasad, Vice-president (marketing, sales and after-sales) at Daimler India Commercial Vehicles.

“These are good strategies, and I would call them ‘loyalty programmes’. The industry needs good drivers, the vital link in the logistics chain, for unhindered operations,” said Yaresh Kothari, automobile analyst with Angel Broking.

Apart from the innovations on product-front, Tata Motors is also into training and is looking to train more than 3.4 million youth by 2021.

“The training initiative is aimed at creating a pool of drivers, with the right competencies to take advantage of state-of-the-art facilities in a truck and the modern road network developing in the country,” a Tata group spokesperson said.

Some of the features of these companies’ (BharatBenz and Prima range of Tata Motors) trucks are adjustable steering columns, reclining seats, air-conditioned cabins, power windows and arm rests among others. Some of the features would certainly put high-end sedans to shame.

> rajesh.kurup@thehindu.co.in

Published on October 14, 2012
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