Manipur is set to observe Road Safety Week with effect from January 17 in a bid to prevent and reduce road mishaps and incidents against road transport drivers in the state.
The announcement was made on Drivers Day 2023, which was observed on Saturday (January 14) to commemorate the drivers who lost their lives while on duty for the welfare of the people.
The 34th edition of Drivers Day was held at Inter State Bus Terminal (ISBT), Khuman Lampak, Imphal East. It was organized by the 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 in serving the people.
Vashum said it is in the hands of drivers whether to bring welfare to the society and drivers should bear in mind that there is a family waiting for them while delivering their service.
Rest facility for road transport drivers along highways
The transport minister also 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.
Several resting places for drivers will be set up along the state and national highways, he added.
Vashum further said the state will be observing “Road Safety Week” from January 17. As a part of the function, families of deceased drivers and others paid floral tributes to the departed drivers.
Over 1000 transport drivers gifted with shawl, blanket each
AMRTDMWU secretary Maimom Anil Meitei said 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 each to over 1,000 transport drivers.
AMRTDMWU president 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 organised by the Manipur Driver’s Association; Highway Truck Owners Organisation, Senapati district truck owner’s association and the All Manipur Gorkha Truck Drivers and Owners Association. During the function, floral tributes were paid to the drivers who lost their lives, followed by a one-minute silence observation.
Government plans to deploy highway protection forces on roads along national highways
Labour Minister Heikham Dingo appreciated the drivers for their service while providing essential commodities in a landlocked state like Manipur.
Transport drivers have been facing several unwanted incidents and hardship in delivering their service along the state and national highways, he said.
Dingo condemned the use of drivers as tools by unknown miscreants when they wanted to make a demand to the state government.
To control and avoid any unwanted incidents, the state government has launched a Highway Patrol team that is working around the clock, he said. The government is also planning to deploy highway protection forces along the national highways, Dingo added.
Origin of Drivers Day
AMRTDMWU secretary Maimom Anil Meitei said following a 1990 incident where a driver and an assistant driver was killed by unknown armed miscreants in Nagaland, drivers of Manipur staged a strike at Old Airfield, Koirengei. Since then, January 14 has been observed as Drivers Day, he said.