Even as the central government issued orders to allow the movement of transporter trucks carrying essential and non-essential goods, Chandigarh’s transporters are facing difficult as the drivers are reluctant to go on long routes as the eateries or dhabas on the highways will be shut, owing to the lockdown in the wake of coronavirus spread.
Bharat Goswami, a transporter in Chandigarh, is unable to send his consignment of hand sanitisers to be delivered in Bihar, as ordered by the Bihar government, as his trucks are stuck in Chandigarh, with no driver agreeing to make the journey.
Goswami, who is the President of the transport labour union of Chandigarh and a proprietor of transport firm Care India Logistic, is not the only transporter who is unable to generate any work assignment these days, many other transporters say that the industry is going through a rough time.
Goswami says, “I have 12 trucks and 15 drivers who are stranded now. The drivers are not agreeing to make journeys with even consignment loaded trucks, as the dhabas or eateries on the highways will be closed, making it difficult for the drivers to eat or take rest on the route.”
He adds, “I have my two trucks loaded with consignments that are stranded in Bihar and Delhi. The trucks drivers are not being allowed to drive to Chandigarh now, due to the lockdown. Meanwhile, I am trying to provide necessary facilities to my daily wage labourers, who reside in the Sector 26 transport area. I provide them food and essential items so that when the lockdown opens, the work can be started again.”
Another Chandigarh-based transporter, Nitin Aggarwal of Aggarwal Roadlines, says, “There is a consignment of iron and compost, which is in the goods train at Chandigarh Railway Station, but we are unable to unload the consignment as the labour cannot move in due to the lockdown. Till the time, we do not unload the consignments from the goods train, the railways will charge us for it on per day basis. We will, however, write an application to the concerned authorities to not to levy the charges on us for the lockdown period.”
Dhuran Yadav, of Yadav Roadlines, another transporter in Chandigarh, says, “I have seven trucks, out which five are parked in Chandigarh. While one is stranded at Tinsukia district of Assam since March 23, another is stranded in West Bengal’s Siliguri district. For the truck stuck in Assam, I am unable to do anything as there is no consignment to be loaded in it, while for the Siliguri truck, I have asked a local dealer to get a consignment of potatoes to Chandigarh on minimum fares, so that at least one of my trucks comes back to Chandigarh.”
He adds, “There is no work at present. The business is in loss. We have to even pay the drivers without generating any work. I understand that the government initiative to lockdown was important to curb the disease but the government should also find ways to mitigate the disruptions caused to regular businesses.”
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