[The article has been updated with the name of the aviation company Amol Yadav is associated with.]
Media reports say that Maharashtra government earlier this week signed a Rs 35,000 crore pact with the company promoted by a commercial pilot from Mumbai who built a 6-seater aircraft on his roof.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was present when the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed at the “Magnetic Maharashtra” global investors summit between Thrust Aircraft Pvt Ltd and Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC)
The project will be spread across 157 acres in Palghar district and it is said will lead to the generation of 10,000 jobs.
Amol Yadav, a commercial pilot working with Jet Airways, had a dream of building his aircraft on the roof of his house and he did. In six years, from 2010 to 2016, he worked on a six-seater aircraft.
The plane can reach up to 13,000 feet at 1,500 feet/hour. It can cover a distance of 2000 kilometres. The top speed is 185 nautical miles/hour. It is built to carry a weight of 1450 kilograms and could seat five people. The aircraft was certified by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and featured in ‘Make In India’ 2016.
The catch is that the plane has never been tested. “We are awaiting a few components. They have come to India and are with the Customs. Once they are fitted [into the aircraft] we will have the official test flight in March or April,” Yadav said, according to the Hindustan Times.
The aircraft bears the registration number VT–NMD, after the initials of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
What do experts say?
Vipul Saxena, an aviation expert and Air Force pilot says that the joint venture does not make sense. He feels that if the purpose was to promote indigenous plane-making, then importance should have been given to other designers as well.
“I am not denying his dedication. They [DGCA] cannot approve the design unless it has been copied with only few alterations in pre-existing design. There are set guidelines by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). There are world-class labs where prototypes of planes are tested on various parameters. The government should have set up an aviation committee through the ministry of civil aviation to evaluate the proposal in terms of return on investment (ROI) if it is being funded for commercial purposes,” said Vipul Saxena, as reported by Hindustan Times.
Have you ever spotted a speeding car without a care for the traffic signal? Ever spotted a person rushing to the other side of the road when the traffic light is green? Ever seen bikers use pavements as roads to save a few minutes? Ever seen cars change lanes on highways or rush hour traffic on a whim? Well, so have thousands of other Indians.
Road safety in India is a serious concern. For a country that boasts the second largest road network in the world, it is inarguable that we need to pay more attention to our safety on roads – a place where we step out every day, spend a handsome amount of our time.
The government has come up with several regulations on road safety, but is this enough? Not if awareness around the topic is still lacking.
The intention behind the initiative is to bring together lawmakers, local authorities, traffic police and citizens under one umbrella.
The cities will be rated on parameters such as Pedestrian Rights, Road Lighting and Maintenance, Motor Laws and Traffic Control, Emergency Services, Road Cleanliness, Connectivity, Road Transport Infrastructure, Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management, Road Safety, Differently abled friendly, Road Quality and Road Safety For Children.
Here are the ten cities that were chosen for Road Safety Index 2018 and the reasons that make their roads safe or unsafe:
Mumbai has facilities for the differently-abled like reservations in public transports, special train compartments, concessions on fares, etc. The city that never sleeps scored the best when it comes to citizens’ participation in making the city accepting and warm toward the differently-abled. It won the category ‘Differently-Abled Friendly’.
However, there are areas of improvement – illegal hawkers, pavements and footpaths need to be fixed or reconstructed.
Anyone who hails from the capital of West Bengal knows about its recreational parks and brightly lit streets. Its traffic police deserve special mention for redirecting rush traffic every day as Kolkata roads are narrow and many are one-way streets.
During Durga Puja, the city tries to make Pandals differently-abled friendly by installing ramps.
It won the categories – ‘Road Lighting & Maintenance’ and ‘Road Safety For Children’.
But the City of Joy needs to work more on giving its residents #HappyRoads. Issues of waterlogging and numerous street hawkers, roadside vendors in busy areas need to be solved.
There’s no one who’s been to Delhi and not praised its excellent connectivity. Delhi prides itself for broad roads, top-notch metros, pavements and foot over bridges. The national capital surely serves as an example for cities across India when it comes to road connectivity hence, it won the categories ‘Connectivity’ and ‘Road Quality’ in the Road Safety Index.
While Delhi has made many of its public places differently-abled friendly, the areas that need improvement are long hours in traffic, fixing of roads that pose a hindrance to daily commute and rash driving by bikers.
The city boasts well-marked zebra crossings, adequate footpaths for pedestrians, underground SMART dustbins, reduced encroachments. Raipur fares well in almost all parameters of road safety. It won the category of ‘Road Safety’ and ‘Pedestrian Rights’.
However, the city could do better with stricter fines for traffic violators and awareness about road safety and garbage disposal.
Other cities can take inspiration from Chennai on how to ensure good road safety. The city has wide, well-connected roads that are lit properly. It also boasts rigorous night patrolling where traffic rules violators are fined. One of the best initiatives taken by Chennai is the separate parking space on city roads that prevent traffic from accumulating. It came out on top in the category ‘Motor Laws & Traffic Control’.
Areas where Chennai needs to improve are street lighting and cleanliness.
Indore is one of the few cities that has used plastic waste for construction of roads and covered garbage disposals, which explains why the city won the ‘Road Cleanliness’ category. Indore also has adequate zebra crossings, visual signals, street lights, footpaths.
But areas where the city needs improvement are – strict action against traffic violators, public spaces more differently-abled friendly.
There is a lot to learn from the road safety measures implemented by Ahmedabad – sound medical facilities, separate lanes for local buses, special cab service for differently-abled, wide roads. Ahmedabad won in the category ‘Emergency Services’, ‘Road Transport Infrastructure’ and ‘Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management’.
If the Heritage City improves road safety awareness among citizens, it’s bound to fare even better. Better street lighting and lesser encroachments will work in favour of Ahmedabad.
The other cities shortlisted were Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad but they didn’t win any category.
Maruti Suzuki’s initiative to rank cities will encourage citizens and administration to do better and emerge on top.
The Logical Indian community wholeheartedly appreciates the various initiatives undertaken by Maruti-Suzuki in this direction. Not only the government but we, as citizens of this country, should also pledge to make our roads safe. One of the first steps towards this is that we understand our duties.
We hope the authorities take a note while we pledge to do our own bit towards happier, safer Indian roads.
For more information about the Maruti Suzuki’s initiative and the Road Safety Indexclick here.