The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has asked all states to carry out a special vaccination drive for oxygen tanker drivers, and give them priority in treatment and admission in hospitals in case they are infected with coronavirus. The ministry also said it has urged all state and UTs to quickly skill the drivers with training in handling of hazardous chemicals and liquid oxygen (LOX) through short programmes and apprenticeships.
"It has also been advised that LOX tanker drivers may be facilitated with a special COVID-19 vaccination drive and priority in admission and treatment in hospitals, in case they are COVID-19 infected," the ministry told states through a series of tweets. The MoRTH said it has advised states and UTs to create a pool of trained drivers for transporting "hazardous cargo" due to an increase in the need for transportation of LOX.
"Five hundred drivers are to be made available immediately in the next few weeks. The number of drivers to be increased to 2,500 in the next two months." the ministry said. It said a digital database of trained drivers will be kept so that anyone can use it.
According to the ministry, training modules have been designed with the help of Logistics Sector Skill Council, Indian Chemical Council, National Skill Development Corporation and medical oxygen manufacturers.