During the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the major focus has been on quick and smooth transportation of liquid oxygen (LOX) to various parts of the country. In this regard, it has been intimated by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways that as per extant rules and in consonance with the CMVR, 1989, only drivers with adequate training and having hazardous cargo licence are allowed to operate LOX trucks. Therefore, there is an urgent need to make available a large pool of trained drivers who can supplement/replace the existing drivers, keeping in mind 24×7 operations.
In this context, the Ministry has advised States and Union Territories to create a pool of trained drivers – 500 such drivers are to be made available immediately and the number increased to 2,500 in the next two months.
Also, as a part of a strategy that can be adopted to create an additional pool, the following have been suggested:
a. Quickly skill drivers with training in handling hazardous chemicals and LMO handling through a short program and apprenticeship
b. Skill HMV licence holders in hazardous chemicals and LMO handling through short (3/4 days) program and apprenticeship
Such training modules have been designed with the help of the Logistics Sector Skill Council (LSSC), Indian Chemical Council (ICC), National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and medical oxygen manufacturers.
States/UTs have been requested to recommend some local drivers with HMV/hazardous chemical licence to opt for these training programs.
Besides, a list of all the skilled drivers would be made available on a digital platform, whose services could be utilised for carrying cryogenic LMO tankers.
It has also been advised that LOX tanker drivers may be facilitated with a special Covid vaccination drive and priority in admission and treatment in hospitals in case they are found infected, said a release.