If the Jammu and Kashmir government has its way, Tata's cheapest small car Nano will be rolled out as taxi here, first time ever in the country since it was launched in 2009.
The Jammu and Kashmir transport department is mulling over the idea after private players came up with a proposal to use Nano as commercial vehicle given roadways in Srinagar and Jammu cities.
"The state transport department has received proposals from private players intending to use Nano as a commercial vehicle to ferry passengers," said state transport commissioner Mehraj Kakroo.
The private players have offered to charge on the tariff line of autorickshaws. "Nano car is four seater, completely covered unlike auto rickshaws. In winters with sub-zero temperature outside, people prefer not to hire autorickshaws," said Asif Ahmad, one of the private players interested in investing in Nano as taxi.
The government is working out a plan to give green signal to Nano as commercial vehicle. The government is considering Nano's contribution to tourism industry also. It may make travel less expensive and easily accessible in the cities of Srinagar and Jammu.
Sources said the government was planning to have separate bays for Nano taxis and will ask private players to earmark land. Two, the government will make it mandatory to have global positioning system in Nano so that these cabs are tracked easily. "No Nano car more than two years old will be allowed to ply as taxi. Besides, air conditioning is a must for passengers comfort," said a senior official on the condition of anonymity.
Kashmir will be first state in the country to have Rs 1 Lakh middle class car, meant to replace two wheelers, to use it for commercial purposes. It is to be seen if the government decision will affect Nano's charm as private vehicle or people will continue to drive the world's cheapest car.