The observation was held at Inter State Bus Terminal (ISBT), Khuman Lampak, Imphal East, organised by Joint Co-ordinating Committee 34th Drivers Day Observation, 2023 under the aegis of All Manipur Road Transport Driver and Motor Workers Union (AMRTDMWU).
Speaking on the occasion, Transport Minister Khashim Vashum said all the drivers need to follow proper discipline while driving and serving the people as drivers are taking a major role while bringing welfare to a society.
He said it is in the hands of drivers whether to bring welfare to the society or not and the drivers should have in their mind that there is a family waiting for them while delivering their service.
The transport minister said the government is planning to set up an ISTD (Intern State Transport Drivers) at Sekmai so that drivers plying along the highway could take rest. And to set up several resting places for drivers along the state and national highways too, he added.
He further said the state will be observing “Road Safety Week” from January 17.
He condoled the demise of the drivers.
As a part of the function, families of deceased drivers and others paid floral tributes to the photographs of the departed drivers.
Secretary of AMRTDMWU, Maimom Anil Meitei, said that following a 1990 incident where a driver and an assistant driver was killed by unknown armed miscreants at Nagaland, drivers of Manipur staged a strike at Old Airfield, Koirengei. Since then, January 14 has been observed as Driver’s Day, he added.
He said the drivers are serving the people day and night to provide essential commodities irrespective of caste, creed and religion even during the pandemic when people were hesitant to go outside from their residence.
He appealed to the people to cooperate with the transport drivers and not to discriminate against the profession.
During the programme the organising committee handed over a shawl, blanket to over 1,000 transport drivers.
President of AMRTDMWU, Yambem Naoba Singh; minister Nemcha Kipgen; deputy secretary of transport, David Elangbam and others attended as president and guests of honour respectively.
The 34th Driver’s Day was also observed at Manipur Press Club, jointly organized by Manipur Driver’s Association; Highway Truck Owners Organisation, Senapati district truck owner’s association and All Manipur Gorkha Truck Drivers and Owners Association.
During the function floral tributes were paid to the photographs of the drivers who lost their lives on the line of duty, followed by a 1-minute silence observation.
Labour Minister Heikham Dingo thanked and appreciated the drivers for their service while providing essential commodities in a landlocked state like Manipur.
Several unwanted incidents had been occurring towards the drivers while delivering their service along the state and national highways, he said and condemned the use of drivers as tools by unknown miscreants when they wanted to make a demand to the state government.
He said with the coming of the Biren-led government the number of crimes along the highways towards the commuters and transporters have been decreasing. Moreover, to control and avoid any unwanted incidents, the state government has launched a Highway Patrol team that is working round the clock. The government is also planning to deploy highway protection forces along the national highways, said Dingo.