IMPHAL, Jan 14: Fitting homage was paid to 276 expired drivers on the 32nd Drivers’ Day observed under the aegis of the All Manipur Road Transport Drivers and Motor Workers Union at their MG Avenue office here today.
Led by the union’s president Sairem Manglemba, the gathering offered floral tributes to photographs of deceased drivers and observed silence for two minutes.
A documentary film ‘Highway of Life’ based on the difficulties and hazards faced by drivers on the two National Highways of Manipur was also screened at the gathering.
Speaking at the gathering, the union’s general secretary Maimom Anil said that drivers have been transporting all types of commodities including medicines on the two perilous National Highways for many decades.
Unable to bear the atrocities which included unwarranted thrashings, killings and abduction meted out to drivers and transporters on the National Highways by militants, a large number of drivers and transporters gathered at the Old Air Field, Koirengei and took out protest rally on January 14, 1990.
Taking the date of this historic rally, the Drivers’ Day is observed every year on January 14, Anil said.
Saying that drivers harbour no enmity against any one, he appealed to one and all to treat drivers with love and care.
He also appealed to the public to acknowledge the selfless service rendered by drivers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Altogether eight drivers were killed in the line of duty in 2020.
The All Manipur Road Transport Drivers and Motor Workers Union, apart from extending monetary assistance of Rs 10,000 each to the bereaved families, worked hard to ensure that they get insurance benefits.
The union has also provided pension to four aged drivers and it would continue to provide assistance when any driver or handyman sustains injuries or faces difficult situation, Anil added.
The All Manipur Drivers Welfare Association (MADWA) also organised the Drivers Day at Moidangpok Keithelmanbi Truck parking today.
The programme was attended by Babudhon, advisor of MADWA; Somam Ganga Meitei, president, MADWA; S Tiken Meitei, vice president, MADWA and others who paid floral tributes to the portraits of late drivers.
Attendees of the programme lauded the tireless efforts of the drivers who ply on the highways everyday to provide essentials in the State. They also expressed the need for formulating schemes for the drivers by the Government.