New Delhi: Truck drivers in the country have started contracting Covid-19, in what could pose as a grave challenge for the supply chain across sectors, India’s largest transport body said on Wednesday.

The development adds to the issue of lack of truck drivers in the country, who are reluctant to come back to work, and the delay in announcement of Covid-19 insurance for truck drivers is making the situation worse, the All Indian Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) said in a statement.

The association has also sought relief from the government in terms of soft loans, deferment of statutory compliances, among others, to prevent truck operators from going bankrupt.

“We have reports from Gwalior, Nawashrar and Vijaywada about drivers contracting Covid-19,” AIMTC said. “The drivers becoming a corona(virus) carrier is a dangerous proposition and it will be difficult to track backwards because of the wide geography traversed by them,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, transport operators are still awaiting a Covid-19 insurance for truck drivers, which will help instil confidence in them to come back to work, who are otherwise reluctant so far.

Transport operators facing Bankruptcy

“The anxiety and uncertainty over the future scenario (is) galore everywhere, more so among the road transport fraternity, which is fast receding to bankruptcy,” the transport body said.

The government should make available sift loans, defer statutory compliances and taxes, fees, EMIs, by six months, to allow a breather for transporters across the country, AIMTC said.

AITWA also sought refund of TDS, with no cap on refund amount, to help meet the administrative expenses of transporters.

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