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Friday, 24 May 2013 03:02
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Now that the quadricycle has been cleared, the govt has to allow others a chance to develop one

 

Both Rajiv Bajaj and the families that travel in unsafe three-wheelers have a reason to be happy—with the government clearing the quadricycle in the commercial passenger vehicle category, Bajaj gets to sell his new RE60 and families get to travel in a slightly safer vehicle. Automobile manufacturers who were opposing the RE60 on grounds it did not meet the same safety norms as cars were clearly barking up the wrong tree since the quadricycle was aimed as a replacement for the three-wheeler; in any case, as the Nano experiment and the declining Maruti 800 sales show, Indian consumers don't necessarily buy a car just based on its price which, in any case, looks a lot lower when it is converted into equal monthly instalments.

What makes the government decision to add another section to the motor vehicles act to allow quadricycles look funny is that the normal procedure is the other way around. The government comes up with standards like the Bharat I and the Bharat II ones that the automobile companies try and comply with—in this case, with Bajaj campaigning for his quadricycle, the government followed through with a decision. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but now that the government has bought Bajaj’s argument on the need for lesser safety specifications for a quadricycle, it needs to come up with its own specifications instead of just using the same ones that the RE60 has. The specifications are to be announced in a month or two. In the interests of a level-playing field, other manufacturers also need to be given time to have their own shot at the quadricycle. Finally, if the quadricycle is indeed an attempt to replace the three-wheeler, a phaseout schedule needs to be put in place for this.

 
 

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