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New Heroes: Cheers, Free Food Say Hi to Oxygen Tanker Drivers | India News

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NEW DELHI: It was a pleasant surprise for Shiv Mohan and Bhagwan, two oxygen tank truck drivers, when a driver greeted them on a road in Uttar Pradesh on May 9. While Shiv Mohan was driving the tanker, Bhagwan was sitting next to him. They have taken turns keeping the wheels rolling non-stop to bring key medical aid to hospitals.
Shiv, 33, has been driving tanker trucks for the past five years. “I have never seen such a response from people, including police and officers. People are appreciating our work; two-wheelers and car occupants stop to greet us. You feel proud in these difficult times. The number of hours behind the wheels has increased in recent weeks due to the huge demand for medical oxygen, ”he told TOI from Bokaro in Jharkhand.
The two from Amethi in UP, who are working with the Delhi-based Chaudhary Transport Company, were waiting at an oxygen generating plant in Bokaro to fill up the tank and would then drive to Bhopal.
They said the vehicle carrying oxygen tanks is not being stopped even at interstate checkpoints, and government agencies and people are offering them bottles of water and food at state lines. “We get everything when we need it. We also feel that we are contributing something to the country’s fight against Covid, ”they said.
The two said that since there is less traffic on the roads, they can cover 600 km per day and in urban areas, the police are helping these vehicles to obtain priority clearance. “Drivers of all other vehicles give way to us on all roads,” Shiv said.
Almost 90% of medical oxygen is transported by tanker trucks and other vehicles, while only 10% is transported by Oxygen Express trains. Meanwhile, the government has created a subgroup to address the problems of tanker trucks and oxygen conductors. He has advised carriers to deploy four drivers with each tanker to ensure its continuous movement. There are also discussions about whether the government can give oxygen tanker drivers any incentives, the sources said.
While drivers of oxygen tankers and other essential items, such as medicine and groceries, play a key role during these critical times, little has been done so far for drivers of heavy commercial vehicles, who often face harassment from women. enforcement agencies and work in hostile conditions. .

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