The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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For vehicles in distress, help is just a call away

A speedy service from the Gupta brothers, but not of the dietary kind. These two siblings, Vivek and Navin, have an entirely different offer — that of the vehicular kind. While theirs’ might not be the first 24-hour car service in the city — Automobile Association of Eastern India has one — Just Services is not just about mechanical problems. From licence renewal to insurance policies, it promises a “wholesome solution” for all your car concerns.

Armed with a team of seven, on three cars and five scooters, Just Services will rush to a vehicle in distress at any time of the day or night, be it a complete breakdown or for on-road repairs. The membership fee is Rs 365 per year, and apart from extra costs like towing and replacing parts or fuel, the rest is covered. Stranded passengers will be dropped off at a convenient location, first-aid will be provided in case of accidents and minor faults repaired. The two mobile numbers (98311-55527/98311-55528) belong to the brothers, and there are office telephone numbers, too, for other information.

With 67 members already signed up and another 260 in the process of filling out forms, the need for emergency car services a phonecall away is obviously acute, feels Vivek. “Talking to customers at my workshop, on Taratala Road, I realised that on-road car breakdown assistance services was one area where there is a serious lack here. In the West, it’s such an important and well-run operation. I felt the time was ripe, and decided to start it.”

In existence from August 15, “although technically we have been getting members from August 2 and even rescued one customer at around midnight”, the 26-year-old, who has been running the family car business for the past eight years, says it’s all a question of liaising. “Our workshop, with around 60 employees, specialises in Fiats, Mahindras and Mercedes. But if your car is a Santro, then we’ll tow it to a workshop of your choice. But car-owners will probably come back, because we helped when they needed us,” adds Vivek.

The company, run by Vivek and 27-year-old brother Navin, who shifted to vehicles from edible oils over two years ago, is offering a slew of services, including a 24-hour helpline, to answer all car queries, from interest rates to spare parts. Help with car loans, and renewal of tax tokens, driving licences, pollution certificates and insurance policies, and even reminders about renewals, are part of the “hassle-free help-at-hand” menu.

At the moment, the working area is restricted to the CMDA boundaries, from the airport and Dunlop bridge in the north to Garia and Joka in the south, including Howrah station and Howrah bridge, but not the rest of the township. The guarantee is a maximum 45-minute wait. “But if you call us from afar, we will try to help. Our first customer called us from Delhi Road, which is beyond our boundaries, but we helped him out,” says Navin.

Talks are on with cellphone companies to start a network-based, quick-info number, in which case, there will be a pay-service for non-members. “The response has been very positive,” the Gupta brothers grin. Also on the talks table are plans to provide information on loans with banks as partners and service-guarantee deals with distributors. For the duo, the designs are grand but the road looks smooth.

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