Incentives for city auto drivers to learn first-aid treatment

BHUBANESWAR: The transport department is planning to dole out monetary incentives and gifts to autorickshaw drivers here to attract them to a first-aid training centre, which was opened last year to provide them cab licence.

“To get a cab licence, the drivers need to be trained on basic first-aid techniques. Subsequently, the drivers will get first-aid training certificates. We will issue cab licences to them after that,” said regional transport officer (II) Sanjay Kumar Behera.

Though the motor vehicle rules say a commercial auto driver must possess a cab licence to transport passengers, almost all auto drivers, including those driving ‘pink autos’ and prepaid ones launched by the police here, do not possess cab licences.

“First-aid training by St John Ambulance is a must to get cab licence. Though we sensitized auto drivers about the cab licence and opened the first-aid training centre at Chandrasekharpur, not many drivers came forward. We are planning give incentives or small mementos to attract them,” said Behera.

In May, an awareness campaign was launched among auto drivers. However, it yielded little result as only 700 auto drivers attended the first-aid training programme. More than 30,000 autos ply in the city. At present, the auto drivers possess driving licences, which enables them driving for personal use only. “We conduct raids on autorickshaws. But we are unable to crack down on them regularly due to shortage of staff,” said regional transport officer (I) Lalmohan Sethy.

The transport department is also toying with the idea to give discount to auto drivers to get cab licence. Now, each driver needs to pay Rs 700 for the first-aid training and Rs 340 for cab licence. “We will prevent interference of brokers, who fleece drivers, and touts, who might resort to forgery to obtain first-aid certificates for drivers,” Behera said.

A recent report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) came down heavily on the state transport department for not ensuring the safety of students and passengers, who regularly travel in unfit autorickshaws in different cities, including Bhubaneswar.

“During audit in five regional transport offices (RTOs), it was found that fitness certificates of 10,541 autorickshaws had lapsed between April 2008 and March 2013,” the report said. “Though the RTOs collected taxes from these vehicles, they failed to ensure renewal of fitness either by vehicle owners or by the RTOs,” the report said.

In June 2011, the Union ministry of road transport and highways had instructed all states to ensure mandatory renewal of fitness certificates of vehicles.

Great to see this attempt in a country were there are so many people. Hopefully they can get this under control and have more drivers first aid trained. Other countries like Australia should also be looking at getting cab drivers, bus drivers, uber drivers and any other public transport workers trained in first aid. If there are any business’s out there looking for first aid training then now is the time to get it organised for 2016. Book in to a first aid course in Canberra asap and receive your free first aid manual and cpr keyring facemask.

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