With India under lockdown since 25 March 2020, the only services functional currently are the essential ones such as food supplies, medicines, and other groceries. But what happens when a vehicle delivering those essential services, like an ambulance or a fire truck, breaks down?
Recognising that this is a real issue that occurs rather frequently, mechanics from across Kerala, under the aegis of the All Kerala Automobile Workshop Association, have come forward to help.
“Every day, we receive several calls from people across the state who are stuck on roads because their vehicle broke down. We get to the location as soon as we can and provide them with a spare vehicle so that they can reach their destination while we conduct repairs,” says Bijoy, a member.
“We’ve strategised the plan in a district-wise manner so all vehicles can function smoothly without having to face any issues,” says KG Gopakumar, the secretary of the association.
The association had a similar arrangement in place during the Kerala floods, and repaired and fixed almost 300 vehicles which included ambulances, police jeeps, health department vehicles, fire trucks, and so on.
“Right now our focus is on prioritising vehicles that are delivering medicine, food and other essential services,” he adds.
The association has organised units in all 14 districts in Kerala with all the necessary tools and equipment to get work done quickly.
“At the moment, there are over 2 lakh mechanics across Kerala who are unemployed due to the recent lockdown. So, we are grateful that they have joined us in helping serve these essential services run smoothly,” says Gopakumar.
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The association has ensured that information about the services reaches people through social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp and has also collaborated with the programs organised by the collectors of each district for COVID-19 relief.
“It might seem like a simple thing to be doing but having your vehicle repaired instantly especially at a crucial time like this is truly a blessing,” says Sub Inspector N Muhammed of the Malappuram Vengara Police Station. “Since we’re always on the go I’ve understood that we can only function efficiently because of the efforts of the association,” he adds.
The association has help desks across districts, and you can reach out to them on the contact numbers given below:
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)