Friday, January 25, 2008

Why blame Tata Nano for impending traffic mess?

I’m little late to write about Tata’s small car (people’s car) NANO. You’ve seen it already, read about it in detail in newspaper and other media, bloggers have contributed their part by blogging about it. While everyone appreciated Ratan Tata’s efforts in making dream come true for millions of middle class families, they also raised serious concern that soon we’ll run out of space on our roads and a traffic nightmare is unavoidable once Nano hits the road.

In this post, I do not aim to write about NANO or traffic jams it may create or about people who are on their toes to buy this car. Instead, I wish to give you a different perspective over the fact that everyone is blaming NANO for impending Traffic nightmares.

Argument: When Nano hits road in large numbers there’ll not be any space left to drive or park our vehicles.

My perspective: Why are we holding common man and NANO responsible for traffic jams? Buying a car is a lifetime dream for millions of people and I feel it is totally unfair that we’re holding poor man, who hardly used any space on road till date, accountable for the possible traffic jam even before they get to drive their car. Because they are poor the rich people have NO authority to dictate that poor people shouldn’t get an opportunity to realize their dreams.

Few points:
We say roads will be jam packed once Nanos start plying. But traffic jams are not caused because Nano is coming, but because we already have huge number of vehicles than our roads can bear. Roads do not belong to rich and powerful. If one who owns a Merc is entitled to use the road, so is a NANO owner. A Merc owner can’t say “hey, why did you buy NANO? There’s no space on the road for my Merc since you bought Nano”. In other words, a poor man shouldn’t be denied of his privileges just because it will cause inconvenience to rich person. Why the expectation is from a poor man (that he should not buy a car so that rich people can continue to drive around comfortably? Why the blame is shifted to Nano, while it is responsibility of the government and society to ensure equal opportunity to all? It is a collective responsibility and everyone together should bear their share.
Let us ask ourselves a few questions:

What are we-government in particular, society in general doing to discourage rich people stop using their Mercs, BMWs etc and start using public transportation instead?

Why do our netas need to commute with a convoy of 25-50 vehicles wherever they go?

If you take a cab for official travel, your office would reimburse the expense on producing the bill. But if you say “I was entitled for a cab ride but didn’t take any and I walked all the way and have saved Rs 500 for the company, give me 250 Rs without any bill”-No company will agree. In other words, we’re not encouraging those who choose not to use some of the privileges.

Why our traffic cops seldom stop any Mercedez or BMW or other expensive cars to check the license and documents, while a two wheeler driver is often harassed for mildest offence (or without any offence)?

Assume a scenario where water becomes scarce resource. Is it fair to say “If all poor people start drinking water we won’t have enough water-ensure that only rich people can get water” That is not fair right? It is a collective responsibility and whatever we have we should share with others, instead of complaining that new entrants are taking away our share.

Why not the governments bring in a law such that all those who own Mercs and BMWs and other luxury cars should use only public transport for next 2-3 years allowing first time car owners to drive around the town comfortably in their Nanos? I know this will never happen…

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3. Fancy Number plates
4. Predict trajectory of this car accident


hari said...

Yes, you're absolutely right. NANO won't change anything on the roads.

Besides, I doubt that any car can beat the Indica in terms of success. Now nobody was complaining about Indica, but almost every taxi operator uses Indica because of its fuel economy and low running costs.

So what's the deal here? 1 lakh car? big deal. Will really poor people be able to buy it? I don't think so...

Will bike users switch to NANO? Again, I don't think the young crowd will switch. Mostly it's the small families that will benefit from this car and I can only say it is a good thing.

Ashish Ghildiyal said...

Hi..I have made changes in my Blogroll and added your new URL....

Shrinidhi Hande said...


Agreed. Tata also need to build a massive service network to service these cars.


satish said...

Govt should seriously think of levying toll on use of some expensive vehicles mostly used by rich & business people.Also on busy roads where space is limited they shold encourage car pooling or other wise levy toll if persons travels with less than capacity of the vehicle.Like in singapore( i believe)

Raveesh Kumar said...


Valid arguments put forward by you. Same hypocracy is shown by the US about global warming by using more four wheelers in India!!


Shrinidhi Hande said...


Yes. It is high time we act.

Not sure how feasible it is to put fine if seating capacity is less.

Raveesh, US has on an average 4 cars per person, while in India we have just 10-15 cars per 1000 people. They cant blame us for global warming.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Comments received for this post at

Paulsb02 Star Writer said:
Jan 26, 2008 11:37 AM

Hai Shrinidhi,

A thoughtful write up there.

I can only agree with your arguments. However, I think instead of saying the rich people to keep their vehicles out of the road my suggestion is to increase the infrastructure. Plan the cities and small towns in a way that it is ready to take up the challenge of the growing demands of the people and economy.

In a year’s gap, I met with a one hour traffic jam in a 1.45 hour scheduled journey. This only shows the problem awaiting the coming days. Surely Nano is not responsible for this but our lack of planning and infrastructure.

Keep writing such good articles.


enidhi said:
Jan 26, 2008 11:40 AM


Glad to see you back commenting at my reviews after long time...

varunsaboo Star Writer said:
Jan 26, 2008 01:05 PM

great write up.couldnt agree with you more..I think the rear engine bit will work out...Tata has developed tremenduosuly as a car maker, this shouldnt be a major hurdle.

Holla Back,
Chintu25 Star Writer said:
Jan 26, 2008 03:43 PM

Hi Nidhi,

A Great perspective that u have brought in forefront....I think we as a nation have become an expert in criticising, finding faults & finding scape goats...we just need an opportunity for it....however what we we need is a solution....and even a thought in that direction is a positive step...and glad u took it :)

ajjis said:
Jan 26, 2008 03:50 PM


Good correlation of thoughts. Let me talk about TN’s perspective wrt ur review. In major commercial areas like T.Nagar, Mylapore etc., shopping complexes spring by greasing hands of you know who, and there is as such parking chaos. So parking space crunch is not a new problem, or something which would arise as a result of Nano. If people of govt.are so much concerned they should only stop production of BIG cars me.
And I don’t know the tech details, but I hope from the bottom of my heart that Nano is a success.

enidhi said:
Jan 26, 2008 03:55 PM


I too hope the rear engine would work just fine.

We’ll see.

enidhi said:
Jan 26, 2008 03:56 PM


Agreed. We find more comfort in passing the buck than thinking of a solution.


enidhi said:
Jan 26, 2008 03:58 PM


I very much understand how it is to travel in around T Nagar, more so with that under construction flyover.

No one cares to park few meters away and walk to shop. Everyone wants drop and pickup right in front of mall entrance...

Multi level car parking should be built at the earliest.
vishalvkale01 Star Writer said:
Jan 27, 2008 04:20 PM

Hi Enidhi!

Nice write up there- One thing most people miss is that NANO or no NANO, the road congestion is going to increase expenentially. Perhaps the NANO will force the government to expedite road development projects

spikeguard Star Writer said:
Jan 28, 2008 02:03 AM

Hi Nidhi,

After reading your review I started posting a comment here, but it turned into a review that had to be trimmed bcoz it exceeded 7500 characters :-)

Do read it if you can.

!! Spike !!
thakurman said:
Jan 28, 2008 07:04 AM

If the government seriously wants to do something, they should. Blaming a product due to it’s low price and hence volumes is not what they should do. I think that is what the opposition including Maruthi is doing right now. See how Maruthi and Hyundai is trying to corner dealers forcing the Tatas to go for local assembly. (Ofcourse it cuts down costs better than what Maruthi or Hyundai expected) Since its a product meant not only for the masses, but for everyone, there is bound to be a traffic clog, but how can you blame the Nano, when you can’t hold the rickshaws or other road hogs like the Innova?!? In the end, the person owning a Nano would also pay road taxes and all related government cesses, so they can’t and shouldn’t hold Ratan or companies responsible for their yet to find success! Instead, they should focus solely on making things better. If the Nano is a success, it would trigger an economic boom as the Ford T did for America, or the Beetle did for Volkswagen.


enidhi said:
Jan 28, 2008 08:29 AM


Thanks for your views. I doubt if politicians will shift focus on development because of Nano as they have now got an all new excuse.


enidhi said:
Jan 28, 2008 08:42 AM


Read your review and rated it VU.


enidhi said:
Jan 28, 2008 08:44 AM


Tatas need to focus on expanding their service network also. Once so many tata cars hit the roads servicing them will also be a nightmare...

We’ll wait and see.
Kweldebs said:
Jan 28, 2008 10:24 AM

Very thoughtful write-up Shri … I feel today’s main concern is poor infrastructure & it is a matter of realization.

paulose Star Writer said:
Jan 28, 2008 11:02 AM

hi shrinidhi, very valid points there. Even the first nano hasnt hit the road yet, its become a burning topic, i saw one spoof on low cost cars in a comedy show too .. was fun. the root cause of all traffic jam is lack of planning & lawlessness on road. good one

rohitthebest Star Writer said:
Jan 28, 2008 06:50 PM

Whatever said and done - it is truly a revolution of sorts.
I am sure to buy two - one for my folks back home and one for my wife :)

Gud Job
Keep writing

enidhi said:
Jan 28, 2008 08:01 PM

Debs, Santhosh and Rohit,

Thanks a ton for your comments.

Perdue said:
Jan 29, 2008 11:07 AM

Hi Shrinidhi H,

Its really appreciable to see so much of thought process in writing a article but I feel that the rear engine concept in Nano is not because of the reason that pushing is easier then pulling but the model has been adopted to create the effect of traction and overcome the problem of ’’torque steer’’ but this model has its own side effects and unfortunately which are more then its good effects . However the effects are not significant as lack of growth in Indian roadways infrastructure will be taking care of the issue.


enidhi said:
Feb 01, 2008 03:29 AM


Thanks for throwing light on the rear engine concept.


Amit Aggarwal said...

it may lead to decrease the "traffic increase rate".. with the increase in purchasing power, rate of purchase of 4 wheelers will increase..but now people gonna have option to buy a 4 wheeler of smaller size...

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks for the comment, but I didn't like you using Amit Agarwal's name.

Amit Aggarwal said...

sorry but I can't change my name just because u didn't like it ... lolll

Shrinidhi Hande said...

hey Amit,

Easy. No offense. I take back my word...

And thanks for revisiting...