Pothashang News Service

Imphal, January 14: People paid floral tributes to 242 drivers who lost their life serving the people along the road, on the 29th Drivers’ Day observed on Sunday at the Inter State Bus Terminal (ISBT), Khuman Lampak.

CAF & PD, revenue, relief and rehabilitation minister Karam Shyam as the chief guest said drivers should be proud of their dedicated services hindered by various problems and respect themselves adding that our lives depend solely on the drivers.

President – A.M.R.T.D. & M.W.U, S. Manglem Singh presided over the function while commissioner, transport department, M.Lakshmikumar Singh, president – AITUC, Dr. M Nara    and      retired senior superintendent of police, Nagaland, P. Sonamani Singh took chairs as the guests of honour at the function.

“All drivers of the state should unite and merge into one body or Labour Union for proper, smooth functioning. This way, they can throw their demands in a better way and the government will listen to their grievances and take proper measures to redress the same” , said the minister.

I will try my best to allocate a proper land for building an office for the drivers in Imphal East after choking out a strategic location as Imphal West  is congested, he convinced. Government has their own laws regarding land allotment, any problem regarding the mater can be solved by negotiation and discussion with the concerned officials, added the minister.

He also donated a sum of Rs 20,000 for the drivers’ welfare.

“We need to support the drivers, not just showing sympathy”, Dr M Nara said. He pointed that it is crucial to increase the present wages of the drivers (not less than Rs.600 per day) and solve issues relating to drivers’ safety and initiating driving school to avoid hazardous accidents. He appealed the government to implement the matters concerning their welfare that has been overlooked so far and strongly supported the demand for allocation of land for constructing a proper drivers’ office in Manipur.

General secretary, AMRTD & MWU, Maimom Anil Meitei appealed minister Karam Shyam to see to their needs of constructing an office for the drivers of Manipur as they are right now suffering by staying on rent.

P Sonamani lauded the contribution of the drivers towards running the daily economic and social activities & normal functioning of the society by bravely bearing the risks of robbery & extortion from militant, excise, forest, Municipality, Police &Narcotics groups and other unexpected dangers on their way. He requested the government to take note of the matter, understand the importance of the drivers and post around 3-4 IRB Battalion along the National Highways to ensure safety to the drivers as well as the passengers.

M.Lakshmikumar stated that the Transport Department and the PWD should work in co-ordination to look into the welfare of the drivers in connection with professional hazards like accidents apart from robbery and extortion.

Highlighting the rate of road accidents ranges from 50-100 in a year in Manipur as compared with the overall figure of 1.5 lakhs in the country he drew concern for drivers’ safety.

Salam Romen Meitei bagged the Driver of the Year Award that includes a cash prize of Rs.25,000 from Heirangoihong Service and another Rs.5,000 from Karam Shyam and an excellent certificate. Mutum Maidila Singh,Taithailung Kamei and Mutum Noren Singh are the other 3 nominees for the prize that was selected by lottery.

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