The Tata Motors, one lakh car is likely to be available in Indian markets by next year. Nissan Renault is also planning a $3,000 car. Availability of less expensive car will surely enable thousands of Indians to fulfill their long-cherished dream of owning a car. After all they would be able to own a car for the price of two or three motorbikes.
With the ever expanding market of less expensive cars, the number of cars on roads is increasing rapidly. Last year, over 10,00,000 cars were sold in India. In Delhi alone, 3,00,000 cars were registered last year. Every year the number is increasing by over 15 per cent. But still the number of cars per thousand people is very small as compared to world standards–7 cars per 1000. The US has 477 cars per 1000 people and in the UK this number is 373.
Indian roads are hit by large number of vehicles, both four wheelers and two wheelers, along with the huge number of people on roads. The cheaper cars are sure to aggravate the worse traffic problem faced by India. Though India is trying to improve roads, it is still far from being able to handle a huge surge in number of vehicles plying on road.
Being a large developing economy, India is already a big polluter. [India ranks fifth in CO2 emissions.] The air quality is worsening not only in big cities but also in smaller cities. Stand at any crowded, busy bus stand and you feel the damage being done to the atmosphere in your throat. The same can be said if you are stuck in a traffic jam with honking vehicles and frustrated commuters. [Thanks to the switch to CNG, the Indian capital will not give you a choking throat in a traffic jam. But the CNG vehicles are mostly commercial vehicles and there are many vehicles along with private ones in Delhi which emit black smoke that make you choke.]
If India is to avert any drastic increase in pollution and negative impact on environment, efforts would have to be made for avoiding unnecessary increase in number of vehicles. This does not mean that the vehicles should be prohibitively expensive to decrease sales. The vehicles should be affordable and should have low running cost. Public transport should be made more convenient and comfortable to encourage its use. [Inconvenient bus rides is one reason why people, especially those who have enough money to afford a car, don’t think very good of it. Who likes travelling in a crowded bus, with several elbows poking into your body, others perspiration mixing with yours? Had it been a uncrowded bus with comfortable seating, would any one mind it.]
Hope the government improves the public transport as a priority to make riding a bus or any other public transport vehicle comfortable. Then cars would be affordable but won’t hurt the environment and create any problem for traffic on the roads.
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