Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Drivers Day observed in Imphal

All modes of transport including passenger services remained paralyzed Wednesday as the drivers community of the state was off duty as a mark of respect to their colleagues who sacrificed their lives in the course of their profession.
“Drivers Day” was observed in the state Wednesday for the 20th time. The day was observed by various unions of commercial vehicle drivers at different places. The main function was held at Chingmeirong, Imphal organized by the All Manipur Road Transport Drivers (AMRTD) and Motor Workers Union (MWU), an apex body of the drivers’ community in the state.
All transport vehicles, inter-state freight trucks, inter-state buses, inter-district passenger buses and all city bus services stayed off the road. Rich floral tributes were also offered to the portraits of the deceased drivers by participants in the function.
Families of drivers who lost their lives while discharging their duty were also honoured with gifts by the Union.
“We are observing the day each year with a demand for a place for us in the society,” the general secretary of the drivers union Kunamani Singh said.
He said that as a result of their long struggle the view of the security personnel, police personnel, excise, etc. towards them had changed to a great extent.”Now the people of the state know the value of drivers but we still need unity to fight for our rights,” he observed.
General secretary, All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) L Sotinkumar Singh, while attending the main function called for unity among the drivers of the state to demand higher daily wages. He said the current rate of wages for the drivers in the state were ‘no more suited to the present time.’
January 14 has been observed as Drivers Day in Manipur since 1990 commemorating the day thousands of drivers staged a continuous 7-day protest at old airfield at Koirengei along the NH-39 against the excessive harassment from the security, police and armed miscreants, the bad condition of highways and the problems faced by the drivers while passing through Nagaland and also against the lower status of drivers in society.
The day become more meaningful when around 200 transport vehicles servicing in the state took out a rally in Imphal city in June 1994 in protest against the brutal killing of one handyman named Noarem Tarun Singh of Kakching by unknown armed miscreants at Zubza in Nagaland.
Following the rally around 1000 transport vehicles gathered at Koirengei airfield and staged a protest for nine days which strengthened the unity of the drivers of the state.
The All Manipur Petroleum Tankers Drivers Union (AMPTDU) also observed Drivers Day with a function held at Sangakpham Bazar where tribute was paid to deceased drivers and other transport workers and veteran drivers honoured.
RK Ranendrajit, a social worker, addressing the gathering, sympathized over the hardships faced by the drivers and lauded their unremitting service to the state in the face of difficulties.
He lamented that demand raised for creation of a highway protection force to ensure safety along the highways remains unheard, and urged all sections to fight together against any attempt to intimidate or target drivers. ‘The profession of driver is no longer looked down upon’ he said adding that their services will be long remembered.

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