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Govt agrees to priority vaccination demand for drivers operating oxygen tankers, says AIMTC

Apex transporters’ body All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) on Saturday said the central government has agreed to its demand of priority vaccination for drivers operating tankers with liquid medical oxygen amid the pandemic.

The AIMTC had earlier this month during a meeting with senior officials of the Commerce and Industry Ministry had sought vaccination of drivers of oxygen tankers on a priority basis, it said.

“The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has considered the AIMTC demand and urged all state transport secretaries to carry out “special vaccination drive” for liquid oxygen tanker drivers,” AIMTC Core Committee Chairman Bal Malkit Singh said in a statement on Saturday.

The ministry has also asked the states to give priority in admission and treatment to such drivers in hospitals if they get infected with COVID-19, the statement said.

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The demand for incentives for drivers of oxygen tankers is also under consideration, it said, adding “the govt is contemplating a proposal to give a financial incentive of around Rs 15,000 to each oxygen tanker driver for their service”.

“But no decision has been taken yet (on the issue),” the AIMTC said.

The transporters’ body has also suggested to the government to give priority to drivers of commercial vehicles engaged in the transportation of essential supplies, including pharmaceuticals, medical aids and other necessary items to ensure there is no shortage of these items in the market, said the statement.

Earlier last month, the umbrella body of transporters that represents about 95 lakh truckers and entities, expressed concerns over the return of drivers and labourers who have gone back to their villages.

The AIMTC demanded consideration of a relief package which includes Rs 15,000 per driver per month and insurance cover for them and supporting staff.

(Disclaimer: Additional background information has been added to this PTI copy for context)

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