Truck drivers form the backbone of an economy. No country can possibly function if they don’t transport the goods. The inter-connectivity provided by trucking operations guarantees linkage to the remotest parts of the country, which may not be possible through railways, marine or flight. For these modes too, trucking ensures completion of the first and the last miles of operations.
It can therefore be claimed that the traffic safety on highways directly rests in their hands or rather on how efficiently they drive, otherwise, even the minutest mistake can have disastrous consequences. Therefore, the drivers’ wellbeing is the most crucial of all.
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Castrol CSR initiative ‘Sarathi Mitra’ programme
The appalling fact, however, is that most of them never had any formal training. With this emphasis in mind Castrol as part of their CSR initiative launched, ‘Sarathi Mitra’ programme in 2017, with an aim to impact truck drivers through road safety training, financial literacy and vision check-up, contributing, thereby, towards the National Agenda of Road Safety, Vision 2020, Digital Literacy and Financial Literacy. The programme was closely monitored by regional traffic police and transport authorities and was implemented by Social Empowerment and Economic Development Society (SEEDS) and IL&FS Skills Development Corporation Ltd. (ISDC). It was executed in the following states:
- Tamil Nadu
- West Bengal
In a span of two-years, the programme has made rapid strides with more than 30,000 truck drivers. As a testimony to the impact, Castrol Sarathi Mitra was awarded the prestigious Rajasthan State Government CSR Award on 6th June 2019.
Krishan, a truck driver from Bihar and a participant of the programme, said in one of his interviews, “I have been working as a driver for the past 30 years. I attended the classes on road safety & financial literacy and have learnt more from this programme than what I have in my 30 years of experience. It is insightful for all the heavy license holders, which is why I will recommend this programme to my friends and colleagues as all topics in relation to our problems were covered. Besides training, I have also undergone an eye check-up and was even provided with eye-glasses.”
A point of refection comes with every story. If we look back at these two years, a lot may have changed for these 30,000 drivers, but this training has undeniably paved a path for a safer future.
For more information about CSR Programmes from IL&FS Skills, visit – https://www.ilfsskills.com/
Author: Mohini Singhal
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