Truck drivers threaten to stay off roads if govt fails to fulfill demands

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IMPHAL, Aug 29: Aggrieved truck drivers engaged in the transportation of essential commodities along the national highways have warned the state government to stay off the roads from September 2 onwards if the government fails to give positive response to the demands of the transporters by August 31.

The transporters along with the family members of deceased driver Md Rehman submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister of Manipur on August 14 demanding suitable job for the kin of kin of Md. Rahman and to reimburse money spent in the treatment of the driver.

It may be recalled that Md. Rehman, a truck driver (No.AS25B-5682), was badly wounded when blockade supporters of the Sadar hills districthood demand committee (SHDDC) pelted stone at plying vehicles at Bizang village along the NH-37 on August 10.

He was hospitalized with critical injury at Shija hospital but succumbed to his injury on August 13.

The All Manipur Manipur Road Transport Drivers’ and Motor Workers’ Union today convened a press meet in connection with the decision taken by the transporters in Imphal.

Briefing media persons during the meet secretary of the union, H. Kulamani Singh, has urged the general public, NGOs to extend their co-operation and bear with the transporters’ decision.

He urged the government to respect the service rendered by the truck drivers and count it as state service. At the same time, he drew the attention of the government to declare its clear stand on the demand of the SHDDC for the agitation and excoriated the government failure to notice the plight of the drivers.

Kulamani further expressed his resentment on the deplorable condition of the NH-37 and the current work pace.

He said that a committee formed under the instruction of the High court after the transporter filed a PIL, comprising of DIG Police, DC Tamenglong, Transporter commissioners, driver’s union etc conducted a survey along the NH-37 recently.

The committee is likely to submit its report on September 2, he said.

He disclosed that only 103 labours are presently engaged in development of the NH-37 and asserted that the current sluggish work pace will hardly meet the expectation of the transporters and the people.

The most deplorable stretch of the NH-37 includes Kambirong, Barak, Shanti Khunou, where vehicles stuck in a muddy track which is about 3 to 4 feet deep. Kulamani further asserted that 220 km stretch of the highway usually takes 8-9 hours however due to the condition of the road today it is taking about three days, said Kulamani.

Th. Manglem the president of the union, said the agitation of the SHDDC and UNC has given extreme hardship to the people especially truck drivers who have been relentlessly rendering their service of the state.

He urged the government to resolve the issue of the Sadar hills by taking a concrete decision taking into account the grievances of the people. He claimed that the prevailing situation has taken its toll on the killing one driver and injuring several others.

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