The Nano at Kotwali police station in Ranchi on Thursday. (Hardeep Singh)
Ranchi, Sept. 13: India’s smallest car can be a super sleuth on wheels, hopes Ranchi Police.
Like Mumbai and Kochi, the state capital will soon use the Nano — the indigenous small car rolled out by Tata Motors — as a patrol and pursuit vehicle for crime control.
A Nano car, gifted by Tata Motors with a tank full of petrol, arrived from Jamshedpur in the capital on Wednesday evening and was kept at Kotwali police station on Thursday. Trial runs will decide how the Rs 1.5-lakh car performs when pitted against the big boys — Mahindra Jeeps costing Rs 4 or Rs 5 lakh each and Maruti Gypsies worth Rs 8 lakh each. Ranchi Police has a fleet of 35 such four-wheelers at present.
The Nano will also compete with bikes — Ranchi police has 40 — to see who gives the hotter chase.
The small car has undeniable advantages when it comes to police patrol when compared to jeeps and bikes. The Nano is nippy and fast. It is small enough to squeeze into the narrowest of lanes, which a jeep can’t. A bike can enter lanes, but it can carry at best two policemen, while a Nano can fit four snugly, said senior superintendent of police (SSP) Saket Kumar Singh.
SSP Singh, who is bullish about the Nano test, added: “The car has another advantage. Patrolling officers won’t get weather-beaten in monsoon, winter nights and summer days. It is already being used in Mumbai for policing.”
As far as fuel consumption goes, each police four-wheeler consumes up to 175l a month, while the upper limit is 25l for bikes. It remains to be seen how much the Nano — with a mileage of 25km per litre of petrol — guzzles while on police duty.
“A jeep gives a mileage of 12km while a Gypsy gives hardly 8km per litre. I think Nano will save a lot of money on fuel,” said a policeman.
Not everyone is as gung-ho about the Nano as a police car, though. Jharkhand Policemen Association president Akhileshwar Pandey shrugged his shoulders. “We’ll see first how it does. Right now, I won’t like to comment,” he said.
Officer-in-charge of a city police station who did not wish to be named also rubbished the Nano as a police car.
“The car is not fit for policing. It is weak, its wheels are too small and will get stuck in mud. In an emergency, it can’t squeeze in a fifth passenger, which the jeeps can. Forget all that, if new four-wheelers are inducted, police have to start a recruitment drive,” he said.
Will the small car be a big crime fighter? Or will its detractors have the last laugh? The jury is out.