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Government Identifies 2,400 Drivers to Overcome Oxygen Tank Truck Driver Fatigue | India News

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NEW DELHI: In its bid to ensure there is no driver shortage to keep oxygen tanker fleets running amid concerns about driver fatigue, who have been behind the wheels, the government has identified 2,400 drivers more for this purpose.
The government is also tying down ex-military personnel, who have long experience in driving heavy vehicles that carry fuel through difficult terrain and also for some imported vehicles that have left-hand drives.
Union Secretary for Road Transport Giridhar Aramane, who heads Empowered Group 2, told TOI that some of these identified drivers are licensed to drive vehicles carrying hazardous materials (HAZMAT) such as fuel, gas and acid. He added that those who do not have the necessary license will be trained in the next three weeks.
For example, at UP, an oxygen tanker is followed by one or two cars with additional drivers to ensure a nonstop ride from origin to destination. Currently, there are just over 1,750 oxygen tanks in the country, including recently imported ones.
Aramane said that due to the efforts of all stakeholders, the production of medical oxygen has increased significantly in the last month. For example, medical oxygen production was around 3,000 tons per day in September 2020 and dropped to just 1,300 tons in January. In the last three weeks, it has risen from 4,500 tonnes to almost 9,000 tonnes. “We are transporting the entire amount,” said the secretary.
This is corroborated with the data obtained from UP, where the daily extraction of medical oxygen has increased from just 250 tons per day to almost 1,100 tons per day in the last three weeks.
Meanwhile, officials said Indian Railways has done a commendable job of operating the Oxygen Express trains by delivering more than 4,700 tons of medical oxygen as of Monday to Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Telangana and Rajasthan. The Chairman of the Board of Railways, Suneet Sharma, said they are running these trains at the maximum speed allowed for faster delivery of medical oxygen.
“Besides speed, what is most important in the case of railways is predictability, as there is no possibility of trains being delayed and more so when railways are creating green corridors for them,” said a government official. .

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