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From Nashik to Thiruvananthapuram: Mammoth truck covers 1,700km in 10 months

The mammoth truck moved at a snail’s pace with each of the five states it journeyed through making special arrangements for it.

Updated: Jul 19, 2020 01:22 IST

By Ramesh Babu, Hindustan Times Thiruvananthapuram

A massive truck that left Nasik last year finally reached its destination in Kerala on Saturday. Moving a distance of 5 kms a day, it took 10 months to cover 1,700 kms, but got VIP status throughout. (HT Photo)

A 74-tyre truck carrying machinery weighing 70 tonnes finally reached the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday 10 months after it began its journey from Maharashtra’s Nashik, around 1,700 km away, to the country’s premier research institute. The lockdown imposed to check the Covid-19 pandemic spread from March 25 delayed its arrival by a month.

Usually, regular trucks cover the distance between Nashik and Thiruvananthapuram in five to seven days. The mammoth truck moved at a snail’s pace with each of the five states it journeyed through making special arrangements for it. When it moved, escorted by police teams in each of the five states, the movement of other vehicles was stopped. In some places potholed roads had to be repaired, trees cut and electric poles removed to allow the truck, carrying an aerospace autoclave, to move. Autoclaves are used to process materials needing exposure to elevated temperature and pressure.

Subhash Yadav, an employee of a private firm engaged in transferring the machine, said the lockdown made their movement miserable. “In Andhra Pradesh, our vehicle was detained for a month due to the lockdown. Later our contract agency had to intervene. But still, it was a challenging task. Engineers and mechanics were there in our team of 30 which accompanied the Volvo FM series truck,” said Yadav. They began their journey on September 1 last year.

Yadav said the machinery is 7.5 metres high and 7 metres wide. Since the chassis of the vehicle carrying the machinery had to be very strong, the truck almost covered the entire road at many places. “In some places, roads were widened and trees were cut to make way for it. And at two places, special iron girders were put to strengthen bridges,” he said.

Another team member,said on the condition of anonymity, “In Kerala, an aged lady came to us and told us better make a vaccine for Covid-19 than sending rockets. Most of us walked throughout, it was a challenging experience for us.”

A VSSC official said the heavy machine could not be dismantled. “The autoclave will be used to manufacture large aerospace products for various programmes and it is expected to be commissioned this month after making necessary modifications,” he said.

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