Keeping up with the increasing demand for transportation of liquid medical oxygen (LMO), the Centre has asked the states for creation of a pool of trained drivers to do the job.
According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, only trained drivers having a ‘hazardous cargo’ licence are allowed to operate liquid oxygen (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 the round-the-clock operations, the Ministry maintained.
During the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, major focus has been on quick and smooth transportation of liquid oxygen to various parts of the country.
In this context, the Ministry has advised states and Union Territories to create a pool of trained drivers.
500 such trained drivers are to be made available immediately and the number of drivers is to be increased to 2,500 in the next two months.
Also, as part of a strategy to create an additional pool, steps need to be taken for quickly skilling of drivers in hazardous chemicals transport and LMO handling through a short programme 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 licenses to opt for these training programs.
Also, a list of all skilled drivers would be made available on a digital platform and the services of these trained drivers could be utilized 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 Covid infected.
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