Kochi: KSRTC bus drivers were deployed to transport foreign returnees from airports to the respective quarantine centres in the state. However, they are not being given the same consideration as the health workers and other government employees. Authorities have not even enquired about the wellbeing of the drivers who transported COVID positive patients. Even when other sections of people involved in prevention activities were sent to quarantine, these KSRTC drivers continue to render their services.
They get to know that one of the passengers in their bus tested positive only when the authorities release the route map of the patient. All the police officers, health workers and revenue officers, who came in contact with the patients, have been told to remain in quarantine. However, the bus drivers are neither being tested nor being quarantined. One of the drivers who called Thampanoor bus depot and shared his anxiety recently, was told to continue with his service as he had already started it.
The drivers appeared for the service as part of COVID special duty. They had demanded that the proper safety precautions should be provided for the service. They were not given the PPE kits that they asked for. They also had asked for driver’s cabin to be covered for the sake of their protection. However, the management said that they can do that only if there is a sponsor.
Currently, the KSRTC bus drivers continue to transport passengers from the airport with anxiety.
They go through extreme mental stress when they come to know that more passengers who they transported from the airport have tested positive. They demand that they should be tested properly for the disease.