Truck drivers have been exploited by transport company owners and overlooked by the government. Nirupama Sekhri started Sukhad Yatra in 2003 to raise awareness on issues like health, rights, safety of truck drivers, encourage positive dialogue and action from transporters and create trucker-friendly terminals.
Over a period of 6 years, she conducted workshops with transporters at the Sanjay Gandhi Transport Center and two other truck terminals around sub-urban Delhi. These workshops looked at educating transporters about health and legal rights of truck drivers with a strong emphasis on HIV education. She felt approaching transporters who relate to drivers, benefited the truck drivers most. Nirupama also advocated with big truck manufacturing companies like the Tatas and Ashok Leyland to take responsibility for the drivers and change the way transport terminals were designed making them more driver friendly.
Nirupama also partnered with the Indian branch of the International Association for Intelligent Transport Systems (2002-09) focussing on creating policy papers. These policy papers introduced before the CommonWealth Games looked at using “Intelligent Transport Systems” to make transport and mobility efficient and safe. Nirupama sees opportunities in the data that travellers and transport service providers like bus companies together can generate. She feels that this could be used to manage mobility better.
A single mother, Nirupama took a sabbatical from work post 2009 and has been teaching English. She plans to work on transport and mobility in the near future and create a platform to enable public participation in the issue. She envisions this platform to allow the public to take discussions mainstream and affect change in how public transport systems are designed.
Note: This was updated in March, 2014. Read on for the ELECTION Profile