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Drivers involved in Covid-19 duty to halt work due to non-payment of dues

HP NEWS SERVICE
Shillong, Sep 1: Owners and drivers of buses and taxis that have been requisitioned by the Meghalaya government for Covid-19 duty have decided to stop working in protest against the non-release of dues over the past few months.
Many of these vehicles have been used to ferry members of the public from Guwahati as they returned to the state during the pandemic.
Under the banner of the Meghalaya Travellers & Transporters Welfare Association (MTTWA), a delegation met Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong today to air their grievances.
Speaking to reporters MTTWA Secretary Aldin Kharshandi said that the government had not paid a single paisa for the use of 150 tourist taxis and around 70 buses engaged in Covid duty over the past five months. The government has, however, met the cost of 30 litres of fuel for every 300km driven by the drivers on duty.
“We are risking our lives doing Covid duty during the past few months and not receiving payment has put us in a difficult situation because we have to feed our families,” a driver said.
Tynsong later said that he assured the MTTWA that the government will clear the dues soon.
“We are very sorry to know the grievances of the tourist taxi and bus owners and drivers doing Covid duty,” Tynsong said. “We are taking up this matter and very soon all outstanding dues will be cleared by the government.”
In its memorandum, submitted to Tynsong, the MTTWA claimed that on the long road from Guwahati to Tura, the drivers were not provided with basic needs of food and water despite having to wear PPE, which causes them to sweat excessively in hot weather. It also claimed that there was a lack of medical facilities, proper checkups and sanitization of vehicles.