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10% of drivers, helpers of commercial vehicles have left for their native places: IFTRT survey

Our Bureau. New Delhi | Updated on May 09, 2021

Almost 2-2.5 lakh drivers have Covid-like symptoms and viral infections, said the Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training (IFTRT), based on a survey conducted on a sample size of 85,000 drivers and helpers conducted in the last one week using 50 resource persons.

If helpers were to be counted, 3.5 lakh drivers and helpers – that account for about 10 per cent of the total lot of drivers and helpers working at various locations – have left for their native places, it added.

“They have moved back to rural areas and smaller towns that do not have as much Covid-19 testing and treatment facilities,” said IFTRT, as it indicated that these are conservative numbers and the total number of truck, bus and taxi drivers suffering from Covid in the second wave and related viral fevers could easily be 4-4.25 lakh, based on present assessment from 75-100 transport centers.

Covid-like symptoms

When we conducted the survey, most of the people said that they are suffering from fever and cough and they fear it could be Covid. In 95 per cent of the cases, the drivers – who do not have a social security net – have been left to fend for themselves for medical treatment with meagre resources at their disposal.

This is despite each district having associations, unions of truck and bus operators, the IFTRT observed, as it urged the Centre, State and district authorities to set up vaccine and testing centres in transport depots.

IFTRT also called upon road safety NGOs – funded by the Centre and States – to take up the cause of hapless commercial vehicle drivers and helpers.

The going away of 10 per cent of drivers and helpers has not impacted most of the routes, barring a few, as the capacity utilisation of trucks has also dropped to 60 per cent of fleet due to lower economic activity, added IFTRT.

Published on May 09, 2021

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