Owners worried over safety of stranded truck
“The truck and the goods being carried have been entrusted with trade partners. But we are not sure if the vehicles are safe.
The state’s truck owners are a worried lot. With their lorries stranded in various parts of the country including Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Delhi, the recent extension of the lockdown has further escalated their concerns. While the drivers of the trucks have managed to reach their homes in separate vehicles arranged by various trade associations, the owners are not sure how long their vehicles would remain safe.
“The truck and the goods being carried have been entrusted with trade partners. But we are not sure if the vehicles are safe. Our trade partners have been unable to employ workers to look after the vehicles during the lockdown,” said K Balachandran, general secretary of Lorry Owners Welfare Federation. “A few lorries did not even get a proper parking space as the trade partners were already locked out,” he added.
In a move to help truck operators to retrieve their vehicles, the government has now allowed trucks to carry up to five licensed drivers in the cabin.
“The three-in-a-cabin system has been relaxed to allow more drivers. But there are more issues to be resolved,” said Balachandran. According to him, truck drivers are concerned about the police harassment they have been facing, despite the Centre’s guidelines easing the restriction on freight carriers.The federation has been getting regular complaints regarding the police beating up drivers at Maharashtra-Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh-Tamil Nadu borders. “A number of drivers from Tamil Nadu are currently stranded in various locations. They do not get enough food and are harassed by the police,” said Balachandran. The absence of a supportive system has forced many truck drivers and owners to suspend their inter-state operations.