An intensive programme by the Central Institute of Road Transport (CIRT) aims to train drivers who can be readily inducted into private and government transport sectors, in order to combat the shortage of trained drivers, especially those who can drive Heavy Motor Vehicles (HMVs). The institute is located in Pune and operates under the aegis of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
“It is a challenge to get passionate youngsters who want to take up driving as a means to earn their livelihood. That’s why we are providing specialised 45-day training to a batch not exceeding 25 students,” said Prashant Kakade, co-ordinator of CIRT’s training section. “Our aim is to provide training to youth from economically weaker sections and those from rural backgrounds, so that these skills help them get jobs instantly”.
Till now, seven batches of trained drivers have graduated from CIRT after undergoing intensive training, comprising both theoretical and practical lessons.
Those aged between 22-30 years, with valid LMV or HMV licenses, are eligible for the training, which comprises an assessment of the driver’s skills, track tests and on-road training. The institute owns eight vehicles, four LMVs and four HMVs, which are used to train budding professional drivers.
But one of the challenges before the institute is to ensure that the trained drivers remain committed to their jobs and have a long-term interest in driving Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) or HMVs.
“We teach the youth to drive all kinds of vehicles, within the LMV or HMV category, to make the candidate suitable for any kind of job. We also train them to drive in varying terrains like ghats, highways, urban areas and other set-ups…,” said Kakade.
Though the demand for skilled drivers is increasing, the institute has no plans to increase the number of trainees. Given the drawbacks of the job-poor work conditions, high-stress levels due to the workload, bad behaviour by passengers, among others — there was a shortage of skilled drivers, especially for HMVs, said CIRT officials. This was a cause of great concern, they said.