say no to nano

At the recent press conference with the cabinet, Nano the car came up. The PM’s reply was vague. He asked the people who wanted the car to be allowed in Bhutan to raise their hands, and I was the only one frantically waving…..sigh. So he joked that they would go along with our opinion…not mine, that is, I mean the majority’s. I hope it was only a joke. Kuensel coming out with an anti-nano editorial makes it serious though.
Nano…. the car that made me lose faith in environmental organisations…..well, I quit one because they were going to do an anti nano rally…in India, that is, not here. Had a hearty argument with my boss too.
Banning the nano seems like a bad idea to me. Why? Well, first of all, we already have a lot of unnecessary Bans. We definitely don’t need more. I watched Ratan Tata’s interview last year, where he was talking about the Nano.
“I saw a family of four on a scooter next to my car at the traffic light,” he said to the interviewer. “The father, the mother, one child on her lap, one child in front of the dad. And I thought to myself, ‘this family deserves to have a car too.’ That is how the nano came to be.”
Call me an idiot for falling for a clever businessman’s tactics. But I have seen this scene myself, and I agree with him, this family does deserve a car.
Science must be going the right way, to be trying to develop cars that are cheaper and cheaper. It does not mean compromising with quality, but being more innovative, letting genius in engineering show, finding better materials….this is how progress is meant to be. And the world is stopping Nano because? It’s too cheap. Nothing else is wrong with the nano. It has good mileage, and at the moment, there are only limited cars, so it’s not going to come here yet. And we will soon know if it has any major flaws. But that is not why we are stopping the Nano from entering our country. The reason Nano will be banned is because it is too cheap.
The editorial said that it’s not right to argue that the Nano will benefit poor people; after all, it is the poorest who suffer due to traffic congestion. Sure. But I don’t think the poor will be any gratified that he was hit by a Prado rather than a Nano.
Its not the “poor people’s car” that I am supporting. A penny pinching rich man can go ahead and buy it all the same. The problem is that we are probably not going to let him save some money, thanks to our prejudice.
“We can’t have the Nano in Bhutan because it’s too cheap. Then all the people will start buying cars and then we will have clogged roads.” The irony blows me away. GNH probably means that if there is an affordable car in the market and people want to buy it, it should be allowed.
Oh, and if we want to stop the number of cars on the streets, here is another way…..ban the nano, sure, but also make sure that people in Bhutan do not earn a bit more and get to the status of affording other cheap cars. And meanwhile also ban all the cheapest cars so that those who do get to that level can still not afford cars. Then, the prados can run around smoothly, with no cheap cars blocking the roads.
Bans are never the smart leader’s answers to anything. Instead of banning the nano, why not build better roads, improve our public transport system, improve our sidewalks, and try to change the “I am a Dasho I must never never ever walk” mentality. Banning cheap cars definitely not helping here.

Critics have admitted that the NANO is safe, fuel efficient, and more environment friendly than bigger cars.



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4 responses to “say no to nano

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