Lack of protective kits worries ISBT duty officials

IMPHAL, 27th Apr: Even as hundreds of drivers and handymen are screened for possible symptoms of COVID-19 at the Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT) Complex, lack of proper protective measures and provision of sub-standard quality PPEs has become a cause of concern.
To ensure regular supply of essential commodities even during the lockdown period, transporters are risking their lives by continuing their services through continuous transportation of essential commodities. Since the transporters are carrying out their services crossing the state border, there are always at risk of getting the infection. The government is also taking up certain measures to regularly check the health of the transporters to minimise any possibility of spreading the viral infection if detected among them.
According to an official of the state transport department, an average of 300 trucks enters the state and their drivers and handymen are screened at the ISBT complex by medical professionals with cooperation from the transport department officials. After completing medical screening, transport officials collect their Voter ID or Aadhaar card for issuing yellow cards to allow them unload their consignment. After unloading their consignment, the voter ID or Aadhaar cards are returned to them and they are provided green cards which allow them to depart for transporting essential commodities.
The official further said that transport department officials are in direct contact with the transporters as they exchange cards. Such direct contacts increase the risk of the transport department’s officials if any of the transporters get the infection during their journey. The only protective measures they get are masks and hand gloves. They are not only of inferior quality but they do not get adequate supply of such protective materials consequently exposing them to great risk, the official added. Earlier, the transporters were screened by the healthcare professionals before issuing both the yellow and green cards.
However, the screening service has been reduced to only one, upon their arrival before issuing yellow cards. On the other hand, the time limit to unload consignment is 4 pm in hill districts and 6 pm in valley. As a result, the transporters are forced to stay in the ISBT complex for long hours. Due to various reasons, maintaining strict social distancing protocol inside the complex is not possible, which adds to the concern of the officials deployed there, the official added.

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