Imphal, Jan. 14: The 29th Driver’ Day was observed today at the Inter State Bus Terminal (ISBT),Khuman Lampak with CAF & PD,Revenue,Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Karam Shyam as the Chief Guest. President – A.M.R.T .D. & M.W .U, S Manglem Singh presided over the function while Commissioner , Transport Department, M. Lakshmikumar Singh; President – AITUC, Dr . M Nara and Retd. Senior Superintendent of Police, Govt. of Nagaland, P Sonamani Singh took chairs as the Guests of Honour at the function. The dignitaries and other invitees paid floral tributes to the photos of the 242 deceased drivers who sacrificed their lives for the public while encountering obstacles in their duties Revenue Minister Karam Shyam said that drivers should be proud of their dedicated services hindered by various problems and respect themselves adding that our lives depend solely on the drivers. “All drivers of the state should unite and merge into one body or Labour Union for proper , smooth functioning. This way , they can throw their demands in a better way and the Government will listen to their grievances and take proper measures to redress the same” he assured. I will try my best to allocate a proper land for building an office for the drivers in Imphal East after choking out a strategic location as Imphal West is congested, he convinced. Government has their own laws regarding land allotment, any problem regarding the mater can be solved by negotiation and discussion with the concerned officials, he also said while donating Rs.20,000 for the drivers’ welfare. “W e need to support the drivers, not just showing sympathy”, Dr M Nara said. He pointed that it is crucial to increase the present wages of the drivers (not less than Rs.600 per day) and solve issues relating to drivers’ afety and initiating driving school to avoid hazardous accidents. He appealed the Government to implement the matters concerning their welfare that has been overlooked so far and strongly supported the demand for allocation of land for constructing a proper drivers’ office in Manipur . Highlighting on the dedicated roles of the drivers against all odds and risk factors, General Secretary , AMR TD & MWU, Maimom Anil Meitei appealed Minister Karam Shyam to see to their needs of constructing an office for the drivers of Manipur as they are right now suffering by staying on rent. P Sonamani lauded the contribution of the drivers towards running the daily economic and social activities & normal functioning of the society by bravely bearing the risks of robbery & extortion from militant, excise, fo rest, Municipality , Police &Narcotics groups and other unexpected dangers on their way .He requested the ruling Government to take note of the matter , understand the importance of the drivers and post around 3-4 IRB Battalion at the National Highways to ensure safety to the drivers as well as the passengers. M.Lakshmikumar stated that the Transport Department and the PWD should work in co-ordination to look into the welfare of the drivers in connection with professional hazards like accidents apart from robbery and extortion. Road safety is an important issue that needs to be tackled with extra attention considering the alarming rate of almost more than 50-100 road accidents in a year in Manipur as compared with the overall figure of 1.5 lakhs in the country . As drivers’ safety is everyone’ s concern, the Transport Department is taking into account the welfare schemes of the drivers like public toilet, funds for motor driving school & discussing on implementing new measures on public safety and convenience. Salam Romen Meitei bagged the Driver of the Year Award that includes a cash prize of Rs.25,000 from M/S Heirangoithong Service and another Rs.5,000 from Minister K Shyam and an excellent certificate. Mutum Maidila Singh,Taithailung Kamei and Mutum Noren Singh are the other 3 nominees for the prize that was selected by lottery . Moirangpurel Area Local Truck and Magic Drivers Union also observed Driver ’s Day at Moirang Purel Lampak. Floral tributes were paid to the departed drivers.