No Nano now for the Bhutanese! | autos | Hindustan Times
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No Nano now for the Bhutanese!

autos Updated: May 24, 2009 15:52 IST

Nano is unlikely to hit Bhutan roads in the next couple of years as the government feels Tata's "all-weather people's vehicle" will increase the number of cars phenomenally in the country resulting in heavy traffic congestion and pollution.

"There are a worrying number of motor vehicles in the country, especially in the capital," according to Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) director Tashi Norbu.

"Vehicle buyers are aware that the Nano, called the world's cheapest car, will increase the number of motor vehicles in the country."

"We're looking at a city for people and not a city for cars," Norbu said.

RSTA figures show that there are about 40,000 vehicles in Bhutan, with Thimphu believed to have over 22,000 cars.
Prime Minister Jigme Y Thinley had recently said his government was in the process of weighing the pros and cons of allowing people to import Nano.

Also Samden group and State Trading Corporation of Bhutan (STCBL), the two Tata dealers in the country, were planning to import the car but, with the huge local demand in India, they were asked to wait for another year or two for their share of the market.

"Tata has asked us to wait for another one or two years. They said we'll receive our share as and when their demands are met," said STCB's general manager Deki Choden.

Tata, however, has hinted that it would try to float the supply for dealers in Bhutan by next year, depending on the demand situation in India.

According to Tata chief Ratan Tata, "We have got our hands full with a lot of demand coming from the Indian market. At the moment, meeting the local demand is our primary concern."

Bhutanese dealers are not sure how many or when they get their first cars.

"We're yet to confirm how many were going to import in the first phase," said sales executive of Samden group Chandra.

Meanwhile, RSTA's decision to restrict Nano from making inroads into the country is causing discontent, the state-run daily Kuensel said.

"Online discussions are rife with protest and some people are even threatening to vote against the government in the next elections. Others are crying foul," it said.