TODAY -

Editorial of the week

Steering the wheels
Courtesy: The Sangai Express 13th January, 2007



For all practical purposes, the very survival of the people of the Manipur depends on the two National Highways that connect the State to the outside world and while the importance of these two highways are always felt at times of economic blockades, how many of us have sincerely given a thought to the very set of people who brave the elements to deliver our bare necessities every single day.

From the fuel that we buy from the petrol pumps to the vegetables, fish, chickens, packaged products, LPG etc that we utilise, majority of them are transported to the State by the men behind the wheels of the heavy trucks and petrol tankers.

This is besides the passenger bus drivers, who ferry our people in and out of the State.


18th Drivers' Day celebration at MG Avenue office on January 14 , 2007

However despite the extremely important service they render, how many of us, especially the Government agencies such as the Traffic Police and the Civil Police acknowledge the service rendered by these men, who are popularly known as Drivers.

We bring this subject up today for some introspection because another Drivers' Day is upon us and while a good number of eminent personalities may sing paeans to the service rendered by those behind the wheels, the fact remains that their contributions to the very existence of the people remain unacknowledged.

In other words they remain a neglected lot and this is where we need to open our eyes and accept their invaluable service to the people of Manipur.

Being a driver, especially the ones who ply their trade on the National Highways, is definitely not an easy job. It entails spending days on the road.

It means encountering engine breakdowns and being stranded in the middle of a highway far from human habitation.

It also means being exposed to the physical danger of getting hurt during times of agitation such as bandhs and blockades, which are regular features in a State like Manipur.

Like any other profession, being the pilot of a commercial vehicle on the highway will come along with its baggage of professional hazards. However the point is not the hazards that we are worried about.

What we are more concerned about is the attitude and outlook of the people and the Government machinery towards this tribe of men, who earn a living and feed their family members by bringing the goods and other items necessary for human survival to the State.

It is not only the lack of respect shown towards this profession that we are concerned about.

We are also very much concerned about the manner in which drivers are harassed by greedy, corrupt and unscrupulous policemen who man the check posts and go around enforcing traffic rules and regulations.

It is definitely beyond human conduct to squeeze the drivers of their hard earned money by some corrupt cops who do not hesitate to throw their weights around and bully the men behind the wheels.

Judging from the huge responsibility that drivers shoulder to deliver the necessary goods to the people, society need to reciprocate accordingly and the first step is to acknowledge the service of drivers.

We take this opportunity to wish all the men behind the wheels of the trucks and buses and tankers and their helpers or handymen as they are known as very happy Drivers' Day.




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