The Mayor’s Office began to carry out the replacement of forklifts by automobiles.
With mixed feelings, the first 79 forklift workers from Popayán received a new means of transportation for their loading work, which replaces the horse-drawn wheelbarrows, their faithful companions of daily work, who begin to enjoy their retirement, a quiet retirement, without heavy burdens of markets, construction elements, junk and so on.
For many forklift drivers, this change is very positive, but, at the same time, they showed their nostalgia for the means they used for years. However, behind them will be all the animal-drawn vehicles with frames made of wood, iron or both materials that slide on rustic wheels.
The ceremony for the delivery of new vehicles, by the mayor, Juan Carlos López Castrillón, took place in the Francisco José de Caldas park. The president said: «Today I have seen working men and women cry for their horses. Rest assured that the horses will be very well, resting and in good hands. Thanks for believing. This means dignity for everyone, for the forklift drivers, for the animals, for the city. “We fulfilled what we promised.”
This forklift replacement project was started by the Municipal Administration in 2020 with the support of the forklift drivers’ union, the Municipal Council, the Carabineros National Police and the Verification and Monitoring Committee, which was formed to provide guarantees for this process.
For his part, Franklin Meléndez, representative of the forklift drivers’ union, recognized that moment as the day in which a process was completed with commitment and will. “We are grateful that we can continue to fulfill our dreams and that our fellow workers now have a place to rest,” he said.
Popayán becomes a benchmark city at the national level by adhering to Law 2138 of 2021, which establishes that all municipalities in Colombia, where animal-drawn vehicles circulate, must begin replacement programs.
On the other hand, the VTA replacement event was attended by the senator, Andrea Padilla. «The fight to protect animals has been difficult, but it continues to gain strength day by day. Today I congratulate the mayor of Popayán, for his will, and the forklift drivers for having had the best disposition and putting their heart into this process,” she expressed.
Likewise, the VTA substitution will continue with deliveries to the other beneficiaries who meet all the requirements. In addition, 7% of those surveyed chose the entrepreneurship option, so they will receive seed capital.
Finally, the retired horses will go with their new families, who were part of a bank of adopters who will guarantee the responsible ownership of the animals.