By M.C. Linthoingambee
Often, we forget that we rely more on the drivers who drive around and bring us supplies. The National Highway Routes in Manipur have always been a constant place of danger for civilians who serve the profession of being carrier drivers. When will this ever stop? From the interstate territorial disputes to the constant conflict being prime reasons, every hour seems a constant rebellion as they journey along the beautiful scenery. The Right to Life seems to be negated in a constant standstill every now and then with the living blockade and strikes called in these seemingly beautiful routes. The general public are not fully aware of these happenings because let`™s face it, airways seems a better option for travel rather than suffering the backlog of these poor roads.
It is not just today that news traveled of a driver being killed and thrown off or even abducted for a hefty ransom. Where is the protection? The citizens of India are guaranteed with the right to protection by armed forces in times of need. With more and more wings and recruitments generated, there are more people that join the link to military prospect. But, little aid comes by in these situations. There are heroic stories of a soldier saving a small girl in a far off village but that is ever so dim. The families that are left behind are often one of the main victims left without the necessary compensation and to topple it up not having the enough required financial funds necessities them to be deprived off basic requirements and enter the poverty strata.
The condition today are burnt trucks, money takers, and many other elements which are dreaded for experience even as the police escort provided for their safety are many too few. It brings to our notice that for a driver who works day and night and transport supplies and produces mainly for the people have to battle a constant factor of risks. The conflict present in these lines should be acknowledged if we to take initiatives to better the situation.
Coming across one such incident last year, certain demands were put forth. The Co-Ordinating Body of Trade Unions, Manipur submitted a Charter of Demands for immediate implementation for the motor workers, owners and bereaved family of the deceased driver.
It started with the idea booking the culprits immediately and punishing them according to the law of our country, paying compensation of more than 10 lakhs, institution of a High Level Committee to look at the causes of such type of incidents, permanent Highway Protection Force should be manned on the National Highways in the hill areas of Manipur to protect the vehicles, motor workers, owners and general public. And yet, the situation keeps on repeating itself.
The pride of a nation lies in acknowledging the safety guarantee of human rights and yet, we act as though we have never of the term. There are certain issues that spring up in each session of the legislative assembly yet, there are little proposed on the matter. The outline scenario of the loss felt by the loved ones is never asked nor answered. All speaks in awe of grave danger lurking through the passage to another state though the hill roads leading to other territories and yet, we have fallen to take notice. How many incidents of abduction will it take to make the news reach further?
The torture of a person is an encroachment of the guaranteed fundamental rights. It is high time that the calm scenery be looked up for the criminals with outstation of a task force. The right to freedom of trade and carry out profession is hampered and the hurdle and burden of long court proceedings often compel the families of these motor drivers not to take up the matter in court. It is time the additional benefits of the road transport corporations file for a collective application for the Government both Central and State to compel the transfer of police forces to protect its minor segment of motor drivers and their conductors. They need to seek out pro bono and be adjudicated in the need to guarantee a certain term of assurance that can show that the principle of Natural Justice have not completely given up on them. Insurance Companies need to come up with better plans to pay the liability owed to the vehicle owners and drivers in case of such special circumstances. It does not take one incident to stop a profession yet, some are constantly scared away with the instantaneous news that travel by. When we live in an era where we can launch satellite into Mars orbit, it is sad that the same country faces these other risks.