Commuters hit as drivers observe ‘Drivers’ Day’ in Manipur

Correspondent IMPHAL, Jan 14 | Publish Date: 1/14/2022 1:31:50 PM IST

Commuters faced a tough time on Friday after almost all commercial service vehicles stayed off the road as drivers in Manipur observed “Drivers’ Day” today. 

Except auto-rickshaws and short distance service taxis, other passenger service vehicles, including inter-state and inter-district passenger service, stayed off the road.

Commercial transport vehicles, including trucks transporting essential commodities along the national highways, and local trucks and fuel tankers also suspended their service for the day. Drivers of almost all the commercial service vehicles joined in the observance of 33th “Drivers’ Day” hosted by driver unions at their levels.

The driver community in Manipur has been observing January 14 each year as Drivers’ Day since 1991 commemorating the day thousands of drivers staged a continuous seven-day protest at Koirengei old airfield in Imphal highlighting their grievances in 1990.

Also, in June 1994, Around 200 transport vehicles servicing in the state took out a rally in Imphal city to protest against the brutal killing of one handyman named Noarem Tarun Singh of Kakching by unknown armed miscreants at Jubza 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 main highlights of the observance functions were homage to the colleagues who lost their lives while performing their duties and presentation of gifts to the family of the deceased and retired drivers.

An apex body of the driver community of the state , All Manipur Road Transport Drivers and Motor Workers Union (AMRTDMWU), observed the day with a function at Iboyaima Shumang Leela Shanglen premises in Imphal’s Palace Compound.

Speaking at the low key function in the backdrop of surging COVID-19 cases in the state, AMRTDMWU general secretary Maimom Anil Singh highlighted various grievances faced by the truckers plying on the national highways owing to the bad condition of the highways.

He urged the pertinent authorities to give special attention to the improvement of the highways while lamenting that many drivers have lost their lives in accidents along the highways. 

He revealed that over 280 drivers lost their lives while discharging their duties in the last 33 years (since the beginning of the observance of the Drivers’ Day) and most were killed in accident on the highways.

The drivers protested against alleged excessive harassment from security, police and armed miscreants and also problems and difficulties faced by them while passing through Nagaland.

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