The Nation Sunday Print Edition - page 11

11
Sunday, March 22, 2015
spotlight
By Maneshka Borham
As introduction of the Bajaj
RE60 Quadricycle hangs in limbo,
The Department of Motor Traffic is
yet to pass judgment on the vehicle
and its safety aspects. Therefore it
is important that its negatives and
positives are explored for public
interest with many allegations re-
garding safety being hurled at the
vehicle by various parties.
RE60
The RE60, a quadricycle by Bajaj
Motors, has been developed as a saf-
er alternative for trishaws with the
vehicle even being equipped with a
fare meter. Quadricycles are four-
wheeled micro cars defined by limi-
tations in terms of weight, power
and speed. What began as a project
to rival the Nano, the quadricycle
has great potential to trump auto
rickshaws and tuk-tuks in this part
of the world. For something that
looks like a car, the RE60 has a CO2
emission of 60gms/km, the lowest
CO2 emission for a vehicle in the
world making it environmentally
friendlier than most other competi-
tive vehicles.
The RE60 weighs 400 kilograms,
about 100 kg more than Bajaj’s
smallest autorickshaw and half as
much as a small hatchback. The en-
gine, which can run on gasoline or
compressed natural gas, can reach a
speed up to 70 kilometres per hour.
According to Bajaj Motors the ob-
jectives of introducing the RE60 are
introducing a low cost mode of per-
sonal transportation for urban and
rural population, providing a vehi-
cle with low cost of running, high
mileage and high fuel efficiency and
providing a vehicle with improved
stability, safety and value in terms
of three-wheeler customers moving
up a notch to a four-wheeler.
India
Even though manufactured in
India, the Bajaj RE60 is yet to be
launched in the country. According
to Indian media sources, the reason
for such a delay has been due to
RE60 failing the roof collapse test
conducted this year. It is said that
the RE60’s roof failed in the crush
test due to the use of reinforced fi-
ber and later the roof was strength-
ened by the use of sheet metal.
However, in India, there has been
much opposition to the vehicle due
to various Public interest Litiga-
tions (PIL) filed in high courts of
Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil
Nadu, Karnataka and Gujarat.
This has also been another rea-
son for the delay in launching the
vehicle. But according to media
sources most of these PILs have
been backed by rivals, who too are
working on launching quadricy-
cles in the market.
Tata Motors Managing Director
Karl Slym speaking of Bajaj Auto’s
quadricycle, the RE60, called it a
‘regressive move’ and was highly
critical of the model. “Why? The
government and industry have
been accelerating efforts in traf-
fic safety & environment, now
we consider Quadricycle. Why go
backwards?” he had tweeted on
the micro blogging site Twitter.
The government of India is now
said to be creating a new classifica-
tion category for the vehicle and
is expected to launch its within
months after much testing.
However, the vehicle not be-
ing launched in its country of
manufacture yet itself has created
doubts in the minds of
Sri Lankans. The local
authorities have said
that the fact the vehicle
is yet to be registered
in India itself has cre-
ated a certain amount
of doubt with regards
to its safety and prac-
ticality of its use in Sri
Lanka.
According to Dr.
Dinesh Mohan, profes-
sor at IIT Delhi, who
is an expert on road
safety and transporta-
tion, a three wheeler
has a very low accident
rate in India compared
to cars because it is
lighter and it travels at low speeds.
He says the RE60 designed as a re-
placement is a good idea because it
is both light and will travel at low
speeds.
Sri Lanka
Most accidents involving trishaws
are fatal in Sri Lanka, and if the
RE60 is in fact developed as an
alternative it is clearly safer than
the existing taxis in the country
that have no doors and a soft roof.
While the authorities still mull
over allowing the vehicle to be
launched in Sri Lanka, this also
then brings into question the oth-
er obviously less than budget ve-
hicles being allowed into the local
market with some approved cars
not even having air bags.
As authorities say such cars are
not suitable for Sri Lankan roads,
it must be noted however that
quadricycles are categorized as
moped in the European Union and
have been classified as road wor-
thy not limiting them to ‘beaches
and hotels’ as mentioned by local
officials.
Currently the local agent for the
RE60 vehicle has requested the De-
partment Motor Traffic to register
it under a different category, but
this has not been done. In order to
accommodate this request, the De-
partment of Motor Traffic needs
New arrival from Bajaj Motors
Quadricycle faces storm
before journey to Sri Lanka
Local authorities have expressed doubt with regards to its safety and practicality if used in Sri Lanka
to create a new category for this
vehicle and change the Motor Traf-
fic Act accordingly, which has to be
done with the approval of the Cabi-
net of Ministers. However, the EU
incorporated quadricycles in 1992 by
publishing the Directive 92/61/EEC
which considered that quadricycles
fell into the same category asmopeds
not having to create a new category
of vehicles.
According to sources, a cabinet
paper has already been prepared
and sent for approval with the nec-
essary details and specifications of
the vehicle. If granting of approval
for the vehicle is yet to be seen, and
if by any chance it doesn’t get the
nod, then Sri Lanka should be ready
to examine other similar vehicles be-
ing allowed in the country. This is to
ensure better road safety.
Pic courtesy:
It is very saddening to see the
good willed new government strug-
gling to achieve the “numbers” in
the future elections. All and sun-
dry are talking about ‘winning the
election” and “coming to power”.
This is all the politicians are in-
terested in and the betterment of
the nation is not even mentioned
in the passing! The blatant lack
of shame in showing the lack of
sincerity among politicians is ter-
rible indeed.
If the actual intention is the
country’s welfare, giving up the
greed for power will be easy. But as
we see, politicians, except a very
few, in spite of many changes of
heart and color, have not changed
much actually.
Why cannot the members of the
Opposition see that all together
can bring a truly proud Sri Lanka
in all aspects? There will be fruits
for all to share. With the blatant
knowledge of what the Mahinda
Rajapaksa Government did, it is
amazing that the politicians – and
even the common people –are clam-
oring to bring him back to power.
Do they really think the majority
Sri Lankans to be so naïve that
they can forget the atrocities in
such short time? If we cannot see
the truth for what it is, then we are
in for a greater shock.
Two things need to be done soon.
One is to publicize the misdeeds
of the earlier government very
widely and continuously till the
common man in Moneralgala and
the little village hidden beyond
Matara know it thoroughly and
well. Do not let the people forget
what they have been robbed right
and left. This is not witch hunt-
ing or revenge. Facts must be told
as they are, repeatedly until they
are absolutely and properly under-
stood and remembered. Yes we Sri
Lankans have very short memo-
ries, but that does not mean that it
is justified.
Prophet (sal) said, “A believer
does not fall into the same pit
twice.”
Secondly, all the politicians need
to be engaged in dialogue to make
them see the need to be united in
putting the nation in its best foot-
ing. All such discussions must
be open and made public so that
there is no horse trading and brib-
ing. There can be power sharing
and rotational leadership, not to
plunder the treasures of the na-
tion as one politician unasham-
edly and openly proclaimed before
election. Power sharing should be
done to build a country worthy of
the good people that Sri Lanka has
produced.
Is that too much to hope for?
Dr. Mareena Thaha Reffai
Letter to The Editor
Share power to build a worthy nation
The misdeeds of any government must be made public so as to educate the
common man (AFP)
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