Heavy vehicle driver’s job is not lucrative any more, says official
Diminishing charm of a trucker’s job coupled with reasons like the distance factor has resulted in dwindling number of people enrolling names for training in heavy vehicle driving with the Model Driving Training Institute & Research Centre (MDTIRC) at Ampapuram in Bapulapadu mandal of Krishna district. The declining trend in the number of drivers attending classes in the MDTIRC, a world-class training institute set up by the Krishna District Lorry Owners’ Association (KDLOA) in 2005, 32 km from Vijayawada, is a major cause of concern for the KDLOA.
For the Rs. 5.5-crore project, the association was granted Central funds to the tune of Rs. 4 crore while the association members pooled up the remaining Rs.1.5 crore.
“The driving school currently has 10 heavy vehicles to impart training and in each batch, we induct 16 drivers. Training is given for eight hours daily for 32 days at a stretch and it includes both, theory as well as practical aspects,” says association president K.V. Ramesh.
The driving school has the capacity to train 250 drivers at a time. Not very long ago the sprawling premises teemed with multiple batches of trainees learning the nuances of the technical aspects of driving besides gaining knowledge about use and function of diesel oil, inlets, outlets, gear box, rear axle and front move axle.
In addition to it, they are taught how to attach or detach the main parts of a vehicle. Yoga, meditation, and awareness classes on HIV/AIDS and harms of addiction to tobacco and alcohol are other benefits. “Despite serious shortage of drivers in and around Vijayawada, there is a dip in the number of trainees here,” says Mr. Ramesh and attributes it to the increasing number of private driving schools that have come up in the region.
But Deputy Transport Commissioner A. Mohan contradicts this. According to him, the location of the driving school is bad. “Moreover, a heavy vehicle driver’s job is not lucrative any more. Most drivers are switching to auto rickshaws or cabs which allow flexible timings. When they are able to make the same money by working in the city limits, why travelling long distances, leaving their families behind,” he says.
While the association members cite the cases of private driving schools at Jaggayyapet, Nandigama, and Vuyyuru mandals (one each), Mr. Mohan says each of this school has just one vehicle and one batch of drivers, barely capable of making any dent in the enrolment figures at the Ampapuram model school.