New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) With the country under a 21-day nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus scare, public attention is largely focused on lakhs of poor and daily-wagers rendered jobless and hungry, but there is another category of people also bearing the brunt: Truck drivers.
Hundreds of truck drivers transporting various commodities were caught unawares and stuck midways in their journeys across the country when the lockdown was enforced from March 24 midnight.
Those who somehow managed to reach their destinations were unable to unload their wares due to absence of workforce at different places.
These stranded drivers are now fighting a daily battle of keeping themselves fed and sheltered amid the lockdown.
A truck driver who had brought a truckload of turmeric from Hyderabad to Delhi was stuck at the Kundli barrier as the vehicle had broken down. He griped he could not find any mechanic to repair his truck due to the lockdown.
Similarly, many drivers stranded along with their trucks on the national highway-2 near Agra in Uttar Pradesh said they were finding it hard to feed themselves.
All India Motor Transport Congress general secretary Navin Kumar Gupta told IANS that hundreds of truck drivers left stranded across the country could move after the authorities allowed movement of essential commodities and even non-essential commodities.
He said that either truck drivers had returned along with their loaded goods to their starting points, parked these at suitable parking spots or even designated transport areas or reached their destinations.
Gupta said that 300-350 trucks were stuck in Banaskantha in Gujarat since the factories and industries too were shut and there was no unloading.
These truck drivers were unable to arrange food, which had since been resolved with the help of local authorities, he said.
Similar situation prevails in Faridabad in Haryana and Modern Coach Factory in Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, where scores of loaded trucks were stuck.
Gupta said that only 6 to 7 per cent of the total trucks in the country were at present on the move since drivers of the remaining had returned home to be with their families during the lockdown.
He said that truck owners were facing financial losses since the trucks were returning empty to their starting points since no loading was possible for return journeys.