These panch Pandavs are from the land of Lalu Prasad Yadav. ITI Diploma holders in fire safety. In their early twenties from Darbanga, Samastipur, and Siwan. Joblessness drove them to the National Capital Region.
I found them ensconced in the airconditioned conference room of Signo, the start-up that attempts to bridge the driver supply shortage. What have firefighters got to do with the trucking portal? Good question.
Something is better than nothing. So true. A fortnight ago, they were headhunted and had undergone online training in road safety. Yes, you’ve heard right. Road Safety. Now, they are brought into Signo corporate headquarters for a fortnight-long proper induction and classroom sessions on road safety, primarily.
Road safety is assuming importance in India, with the Minister for Road Safety & Highways Nitin Gadkari pushing hard to get India vacating the top slot in the global chart for road fatalities — a dubious distinction (1,50,000 per annum or a planeload daily).
Safety expert Harbeer Singh of ex-Maruti Suzuki is imparting road safety to these warriors from Bihar. They are a smart bunch. Thanks to their firefighting shiksha (remember, they have a paper diploma!), they are not novices but have some understanding of safety aspects. Switching from fighting the fire to saving lives via better road usage sense by and all sundry would be child’s play.
Besides, these young recruits would be dispatched to remote locations where Signo sources and manages truck drivers at locations such as mining areas and elsewhere (long-haul included) to share their newly-acquired safety skills with the target audience under the watchful eyes of seniors. The sourcing of drivers for Signo projects would also be part of the job profile.
Significantly, Signo is also exploring collaborating with the proposed Bosch-Indian Oil truck parking program wherein the European giant would provide digital infrastructure support to India’s oil marketing giant to use its numerous large format Swagat retail outlets with a large parking arena.
At some of these truck parking areas, Signo may deploy its newly-recruited warriors from the hinterland to share safety gyan with the resting truck drivers and also tap potential recruits in the neighborhood for a proper career in truck driving for the domestic market and the huge burgeoning demand for truck drivers across the globe.
Keeping this in mind, Gagan has gone global. Having established Signo’s presence in the United States, he is back from Dubai for a base in the Persian Gulf.