Friday, January 11, 2008

Tata Nano the city car

Tata Nano: a city car launched by India's Tata Motors.

The model was unveiled at the 9th annual New Delhi Auto Expo on January 10, 2008 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India

According to Tata Group's Chairman Ratan Tata, the Nano is a 33 PS (33 hp/24 kW) car with a 623 cc rear engine and rear wheel drive, and has a mileage of 4.55 L/100 km (51.7 mpg (US), 62.8 mpg (UK)) under city road conditions, and 3.85 L/100 km on highways (61.1 mpg (US), 73.4 mpg (UK)). It is the first time a two-cylinder gasoline engine will be used in a car with a single balancer shaft

Tata claims that the Nano complies with Bharat Stage-III and Euro-IV emission standards, though the Guardian reports that the Nano will not be sold in the European Union "due to more stringent safety and emissions standards". The Nano is 21% more spacious from the interior and 8% smaller from the exterior as compared to its closest rival, the Maruti 800. Suzuki Motor Corporation of Japan holds majority stake in the corporation that manufactures Maruti. The standard version (without air conditioning, radio and power steering) will cost Rs 100,000 (not including levies such as VAT/LT, transport and delivery charges) (US$2500, GB£1277, €1700), making it the cheapest production car in the world. The choice of price has led to the Nano being called the "1-lakh car". The car will come in different variants, including one standard and two deluxe variants. The Deluxe variant will have air conditioning, but no power steering. The car is expected to be produced in the Singur plant in West Bengal which is under construction. TATA faced a lot of protests during the land acquisitions.

After all these news happening, people were enjoying and suddenly we realized it was a big hit all over the world and hence few writers wrote some stories to make the fun of indian users...

Read this and smile... as we got the world's cheapest car for sure and now we are looking forward for Governments to work on the infrastructures...

Indians Hit the Road Amid Elephants

NEW DELHI — A few weeks ago, the traditional Indian joint family household of Vineet Sharma, a fertilizer industry consultant, achieved a long deferred dream. Having ferried themselves on scooters all these years, the Sharmas bought a brand-new, silver-gray hatchback known as the Tata Indica.

Never mind that none of the six adult members of the household knew how to drive. No sooner had the car arrived than Mr. Sharma, 34, took it for a spin and knocked over a friend. His brother slammed into a motorcyclist, injuring no one but damaging the bumper. The brother was so scared that he no longer gets behind the wheel, except on Sundays, when the roads are empty.

“We bought it first, and then we thought about driving,” Mr. Sharma confessed.

This week, as Tata Motors unveiled the world’s cheapest car, the $2,500 Nano, and automakers from across the world came to New Delhi to peddle their wares to a bubbling Indian car market, Mr. Sharma began to think about his driving.

He enrolled in a weeklong driving course and dived headlong into the madness of the morning commute in a beat-up Maruti 800. Its odometer had long ago stopped working, and it carried on its roof a sign for the driving school, accompanied, improbably, by the smiling face of the animated movie character Shrek. He wasn’t going very fast and said he was very nervous.

He had good reason, for his first real foray on four wheels revealed how many hurdles still hinder the new Indian romance with the road. Amid a cacophony of horns, a blood-red sport utility vehicle weaved between cars, passing Mr. Sharma within a razor’s edge on the right. A school bus snuggled close up on his left. No one seemed to care about traffic lanes. Cars bounced in and out of crater-size potholes.

Indians are rushing headlong to get behind the wheel, as incomes rise, car loans proliferate, and the auto industry churns out low-cost cars to nudge them off their motorcycles. They bought 1.5 million cars last year. By some estimates India is expected to soar past China this year as the fastest-growing car market.

The capital was aflutter with car mania this week, as the biennial Auto Expo opened Thursday and carmakers, both Indian and foreign, began rolling out the first of 25 new models.
The greatest hype came from Tata Motors, which introduced the Nano as the theme from “2001: A Space Odyssey” played loudly in the background.

There were also luxury sedans and sport utility vehicles being offered, as well as a variety of small cars, gadgets and car parts.

Not unexpectedly, Indian environmentalists have assailed the car craze, particularly because of the country’s relatively relaxed emissions standards and the proliferation of diesel-powered cars.

Even the usually nonconfrontational chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra K. Pachauri, has sharply criticized the small car boom, questioning Tata Motors in particular for devoting itself to building cheap cars rather than efficient mass transportation. Greenpeace this week called for mandatory fuel efficiency standards, including information on carbon dioxide emissions.

In his first driving lesson, Mr. Sharma had more immediate worries in mind. Sharing the road with him were a bicyclist with three cooking-gas cylinders strapped to the back of his bike, a pushcart vendor plying guavas, a cycle rickshaw loaded with a photocopy machine (rickshaws often being the preferred mode of delivery for modern appliances).

There were also a great many pedestrians, either leaping into traffic in the absence of crosswalks or marching in thick rows on the sides of the road in the absence of sidewalks. At one point, a car careered down the wrong side of the road. Then a three-wheeled scooter-rickshaw came straight at Mr. Sharma, only to duck swiftly down a side street. At least this morning there was no elephant chewing bamboo in the fast lane, as there sometimes is.

Dinner party chatter here is usually rife with theories on road management. It is said that Indians drive as though they are still on two wheels, or that snaking in and out of lanes is the only way so many cars can survive on narrow, ill-kept roads. Mr. Sharma’s theory was simpler.
“We have a knack for breaking laws,” he muttered.

The city’s top police official in charge of traffic shared that sentiment. He was vexed by all this talk of new low-cost cars.

“My concern is not with cars. My concern is with drivers,” said Suvashish Choudhary, the deputy commissioner of police. “Every new car will bring new drivers who are not trained for good city driving.”

With a population of nearly 16.5 million, New Delhi now adds 650 vehicles to its roads each day. At last count, there were 5.4 million vehicles in all, a more than fivefold increase in 20 years; scooters and motorbikes still outnumber cars two to one.

Mr. Choudhary was reminded of the remarkable fact that the sharp rise in the number of cars in New Delhi had not been accompanied by a sharp rise in traffic accidents. He scoffed, and went on to list his grievances: no one gives way, everyone jostles to be the first to move when the traffic light turns green, and a lack of crosswalks prompts pedestrians to frequently jump out into traffic. He called it “a lack of driving culture.”

Pity the walker in the city. Half of all fatal road accident victims are pedestrians, according to the police. Every now and then, a homeless person sleeping on the street is run over. Last week, a speeding car banged into a policeman standing at a traffic checkpoint and didn’t bother to stop; the officer was critically injured.

New Delhi issued more than 300,000 driver’s licenses last year, which could be seen as either a feat of bureaucratic efficiency or Indian ingenuity. At one city licensing office this week, the test, which took about a minute, consisted of turning on the ignition and driving in a wide circle.

A chauffeur named Ramfali said he had obtained a license even though he cannot read. Mr. Sharma paid about $40, or five times the official fee, to an independent broker who fetched him a license in half an hour.

Car mania has also spawned a new industry in driver training classes. On early mornings, one can see student drivers crawling along the roads and veterans honking madly behind them.

Next in line for a lesson, after Mr. Sharma took a two-hour turn at the wheel, came Anita Vashisht, 40, a police station secretary who took her first lesson on the off chance that one day she could afford a car.

Aisha Arif, 20, was learning to drive so she could better badger her father to buy her a set of wheels. Rajender Kumar, a chauffeur, was teaching a friend named Yogesh to drive, so that he, too, could look for work as a chauffeur.

As for Mr. Sharma, by the end of his first class, he had decided that four wheels, while desirable, were not always practical. His scooter, he pointed out, was cheaper and faster.

His instructor, Amit Yadav, who trains an average of 11 new motorists a day, agreed. He said he commuted to work on his motorcycle. “The traffic is so bad it’s not worth driving in Delhi,” he reasoned.

But if you must, he went on, you have to be confident. “Get rid of your fear,” he told Mr. Sharma. He attributed his own fearlessness to the passion of his youth. He said he was once a champion bicyclist.

We all are not like that right, but for some people it's good to feel so that they won't feel the envy inside them for sometime ;)


Friday, December 28, 2007

Benazir Bhutto Assassinated

Benazir Bhutto born on June 21, 1953 and died on December 27, 2007.

Benazir Bhutto was a Pakistani politician who chaired the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which is a centre-left political party in Pakistan. It is affiliated to the Socialist International.

Bhutto was the first woman elected to lead a Muslim state and she have been twice elected as a Prime Minister of Pakistan.

She was sworn in for the first time in 1988 at the age of 35, but was removed from office 20 months later under the order of that time's president Mr.Ghulam Ishaq Khan on the grounds of alleged corruption.

In 1993 Bhutto was re-elected but she was again removed in 1996 on similar charges against her, this time it was done by President Mr. Farooq Leghari.

Bhutto went into self-imposed exile in Dubai in 1998, where she remained until she returned to Pakistan on 18 October 2007, after reaching an understanding with President Musharraf by which she was granted amnesty and all corruption charges were withdrawn against her.

She was the eldest child of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was a Pakistani of Sindhi descent, and Begum Nusrat Bhutto, who was a Pakistani of Iranian-Kurdish descent. Her paternal grandfather was Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto, who came to Larkana Sindh before partition from his native town of Bhatto Kalan, which was situated in the Indian state of Haryana.

In November, Bhutto had planned a rally in the city, but Musharraf forced her to cancel it, citing security reasons.

In recent weeks, suicide bombers have repeatedly targeted security forces in Rawalpindi, a city near the capital Islamabad where Musharraf lives and the Pakistan army has its headquarters.

The anguish of Bhutto's supporters was evident from the protests outside the Rawalpindi general hospital. Protestors chanted 'Killer, Killer, Musharraf,' 'Dog, Musharraf, dog.' Some of them smashed the glass door at the main entrance of the emergency unit, others burst into tears. One man with a Pakistan People's Party flag tied around his head beat his chest.

She was assassinated on 27 December 2007, in a combined shooting and suicide bomb attack during a political rally of the Pakistan Peoples Party in the Liaquat National Bagh in Rawalpindi.

Eyewitnesses to the assassination stated to various news agencies that Bhutto had stood up through the sunroof of the white Toyota Land Cruiser that ferried her to the rally to wave at supporters who were cheering her.

It was then a "thin man" on a motorcycle, carrying an AK-47 rifle, fired two shots, one into Bhutto's neck, and she collapsed, falling down into the vehicle and just after that Bhutto was rushed to Rawalpindi General Hospital where she died at 6:16 p.m. the gunshot to the neck was reported as the cause of death, according to the Pakistani Interior Ministry.

An Al-Qaida leader based in Afghanistan has claimed responsibility for the assassination of former Pakistan Premier Benazir Bhutto, whom he described as ''the most precious American asset.''

''We terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat (the) 'mujahadeen','' al-Qaida Commander and spokesman Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid told the Italian news agency Adnkronos International (AKI) in a phone call from an unknown location.

Al-Yazid was described by AKI as the ''main al-Qaida commander in Afghanistan''. It reported that the decision to kill Bhutto was made by al-Qaida No. two, Ayman al-Zawahiri in October.

The report said death squads were allegedly constituted for the mission and one cell comprising a ''Punjabi volunteer'' of the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi killed Bhutto.

Bhutto died after being shot by a suicide attacker, who later blew himself up near her armoured vehicles just after she had addressed an election rally at Rawalpindi near here.

The blast killed nearly 30 people.

During her campaign to drum up support for her Pakistan People's Party, Bhutto had repeatedly attacked elements who were fomenting extremism and militancy in northwestern region of the country and vowed to crack down on militant groups.

Bhutto, who returned to Pakistan from exile two months ago, had earlier survived a suicide attack on her homecoming procession in Karachi on October 18 that killed 140 people and injured hundreds more.

Baitullah Mehsud, a militant leader who was recently made head of Tekrik Taliban-e-Pakistan - a coalition of Pakistani Taliban groups, had reportedly issued threats that he would send suicide bombers to target Bhutto.

Her burial is due to take place in her hometown in Larkana, Sind, next to her father Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's grave.