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The drivers from the East and another lockdown

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 our heart!” 

Thanks to Sumanthran and Sridhar for helping Srikanth and Sarafat in this lockdown in Chennai and ensuring their safe journey back.

#staysafe   #stayhealthy

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