10 companies come together to celebrate ‘drivers’ day’ in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh
Its an issue which does not exist in the collective Indian consciousness. Nevertheless, it seems to be reaching to a point wherein it will start pinching all stakeholders in the economy very soon. Even as the production and consumption volume of goods in general mount up in the Indian market, the acute shortage of drivers to steer trucks on Indian highways – the most preferred freight transportation mode- is a problem which is simply growing in dimension. Facts speak for themselves. The country today has a cumulative trucking fleet capacity of over 3.3 million vehicles but according to transport industry insiders, over 20 percent of vehicles are lying idle because there aren’t enough drivers to ensure their commercial utilization.
The genesis of the problem obviously lies in the complete non-chalant attitude of all social as well as economic stakeholders (even those in the freight transportation business) towards the drivers’ fraternity. Being treated as trash is the common norm and on an overall basis, there is hardly any structural visible change to infuse a certain degree of respectability to the profession. Result is: the generational passage of baton (from father driver to his son – a strong trend in several pockets in the country in past) is increasingly becoming an elusive element.
The good news, however, is: there are preliminary signals to suggest that some leading firms especially those with direct linkage with freight transportation business seem to have understood that upliftment of drivers’ community is an issue which can’t be left unattended any more. This was well evident at Baddi, Himachal Pradesh on 17th September where nearly ten companies came together to celebrate Drivers’ Day. The event was organized by Delhi-based KRK Foundation – a registered trust which solely works for the welfare of drivers’ community and it was supported by such prestigious names as Indian Oil, Mahindra Trucks, Mahindra Logistics, Toll Global Logistics (an MNC with its headquarters in Australia), Siddhi Vinayak Logistics and VRL Logistics.
The day-long event at multiple locations in Baddi, an emerging industrial hub in North India, saw the participation of over 500 drivers representing different transportation companies. “ The entire idea on the part of supporting companies was to boost the morale of the drivers community. That they are integral part of their businesses was the central message conveyed to them,” says Ramesh Kumar, Chairman of KRK Foundation. The companies especially used the occasion to spread awareness on the critical issue of safety and security while underlining the point that a driver’s life is as much precious as anything else could be. “Helping them to improve their self-esteem was a core agenda for all supporting companies. Some of the speakers even stressed on the basic points like proper dressing and opting for some lucrative insurance offerings for their lives which are readily available in the market today,” Kumar adds.
The event had its light moment as well with Punjabi Drum beating, balloon bursting competition, etc. But the most unique feature of the proceeding probably was: the entire gathering observing a moment of silence paying tribute to the drivers who have died on Indian roads in last one year.