At Ashok Leyland we have always celebrated our drivers who spend the
most time in our vehicles as they drive along the length and breadth
of the country. This is the story of two of them, Srikanth Chowdhury
and Sarafat Hussain who came all the way from Kolkata to deliver two
AL trailer driven cranes in Chennai – it was Friday 19th June when
they reached, and the city had just gone back into lockdown for 12
days. The two of them were stranded and literally on the roads after
delivering the cranes at the Ennore port. No way to go back to the
airport or station – no place to stay! With a language problem on
hand, they barely managed to get any food. Whatever they carried with
them on the journey was all they were left with. They spent one
sleepless night in a road side garage.
Srikant and Sarafat reached out to their owner in Kolkata who got in
touch with Wesley David from AL. The next morning, Mr. Sumanthran T of
AO Chennai was contacted by Wesley who asked him to help the stranded
drivers. He was taken aback when he heard that they had to sleep in a
garage the previous night. He had to find a way out and ensure the
drivers went back safely.
Sumanthran called the drivers and found out their exact location by
the port. He then got in touch with some employees from the Ennore
plant who suggested some safe place where they could get food and
shelter. There were some dhabas close to the port who were kind enough
to accommodate them. Their next task was to find a way of getting them
to the airport. The transport company had managed to get them two
tickets on a flight to Kolkata for early Monday morning, the 22nd of June.
It was Sunday, the 21st – the roads were deserted, petrol pumps were
closed, and police patrolling was heavy to avoid unwanted movement of
people on the roads! Sumanthran quickly contacted Mr. Sridhar of TVS,
Chennai and both contacted the authorities via email to obtain special
permission to travel 40km to the airport. Sumanthran and Sridhar
cajoled, persuaded and finally got permission late in the evening for
them to travel by road to the airport. It took a lot of co-ordination
with various authorities including contacting the customer at Kolkata
to get the necessary documentation in place. Ultimately on the morning
of 22nd June, they travelled 40 km from Ennore to the airport.
Sumanthran and Sridhar took the entire responsibility to ensure that
they reach airport on time.
These 2 AL “drivers” are now on the way home. When leaving, Srikanth
and Sarafat sent out a message to the AL team that helped them out–
“till the time we live we will never forget Ashok Leyland, till now we
used to drive Ashok Leyland trucks as just one of the many trucks but
from now onwards we will drive Ashok Leyland Trucks which is inside
Thanks to Sumanthran and Sridhar for helping Srikanth and Sarafat in
this lockdown in Chennai and ensuring their safe journey back.