Other States

Truck drivers are often angels in disguise on NH16

A migrant worker of Bihar being provided lift by truck driver Harsukh at Haladiapadar in Ganjam district.  

Several truck drivers plying their vehicles on the National Highway 16 have become angels in disguise to migrant workers by stopping to give them lifts on their long journey by foot or cycles.

On Thursday, at Haldiapadar in Ganjam district near the Andhra-Odisha border, an elderly migrant worker walking to his home in Bihar’s Bhagalpur district from Vijaynagaram in Andhra Pradesh, broke down in tears when a truck driver named Harsukh offered him lift on top of his vehicle. Mr. Harsukh was transporting cargo from Andhra Pradesh to Guwahati. The trucker said that through out his journey, he had been trying to help walking migrant workers by giving them a free lift as far as he could.

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Several truck drivers like Mr. Harsukh, who entered Odisha to reach Haldiapadar near the inter-State border, said that through out their journey, they had been helping walking or cycling migrant labourers by offering to transport them.

‘Hard to bear’

Suresh Pedbabu, a trucker travelling from Chennai to Ranchi, said that at times it was hard for drivers like him to bear the plight of migrant workers walking in the scorching sun. “It is a common practice among truck drivers to help persons stranded on highways for different reasons. Now, we are only trying to ease the pain our migrant brethren for some distance on their long and tiring journey,” he said.

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Ishar Khan, a truck driver on his way to West Begal from Rajmundhry in Andhra Pradesh, said that most of the time, he preferred to accommodate the elderly, women and children among the groups of migrant workers in his cramped driver’s cabin to give them a respite from the summer sun. He asks his helper to sit on top of the truck along with other migrant workers.

Some migrant workers, however, allege that truck drivers have at times demanded money from them for these rides. The truck drivers contacted by The Hindu on the NH16 in Ganjam district denied this allegation, but they agreed that some drivers could be exploiting the desperate migrant workers.

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Truck drivers also fear police personnel posted at different points along the highway. While offering a lift, they tell their temporary passengers that they would be unable to take them further if the police objected to the arrangement at any place.

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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 7:31:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/truck-drivers-are-often-angels-in-disguise-on-nh16/article31696344.ece

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