During the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, 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 brought out by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways that as per extant rules and in consonance with the CMVR, 1989, ONLY trained drivers with adequate training and having ‘hazardous cargo’ license are allowed to operate the 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 24×7 operations.
In this context, the Ministry has advised states & Union Territories to create a pool of trained drivers and 500 such trained drivers are to be made available immediately and the number of drivers to be increased to 2500 in the next two months.
Also, as a part of a strategy which may be adopted to create an additional pool, 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 license holders in hazardous chemicals and LMO handling through short (3/4 days) program and apprenticeship.
c) 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) & medical oxygen manufacturers.
States / UTs have been requested to recommend some local drivers with HMV / hazardous chemical license to opt for these training programs.
Also, a list of all the 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.