Vehicle Scrappage Policy - Views of T.Thakral, Heritage Transport Museum
The soon to be introduced scrappage policy has put a question mark on the future of historic and classic vehicles in India. Overdrive's Consulting Editor Bob Rupani spoke with Tarun Thakral, Founder and Managing Trustee of the Heritage Transport Museum, to try and understand the possible future scenario and solutions.
Tarun Thakral, is the Founder and Managing Trustee of the Heritage Transport Museum, Gurgaon
Bob Rupani - The government of India will soon be introducing a 'Scrappage Policy'. Do you think it will actually help reduce pollution and improve our overall air quality?
Tarun Thakral- The "Scrappage Policy" is a step in the right direction as long as it is restricted to commercial vehicles that are one of the main sources of vehicular pollution. Timely replacement of these commercial vehicles will definitely ensure a better air quality. The policy should have a separate set of rules for personal vehicles as people will find it difficult to replace their old vehicles due to the cost factor.
Tarun has built the Heritage Transport Museum with a lot of love and passion
BR - From what we know historical cars that are over 50 years old, maybe exempted from being scrapped. What are your views on this?
TT - Although the full detailed policy is not out as yet, the policy should specifically take into account not only vehicles made over 50 years ago but also keep in mind India's automotive history. The policy should help preserve the "Industrial Heritage" of our country for future generations, so naturally it should include vehicles younger than 50 years.
It's amongst India's finest museums, and also comparable to some of the best in the world
BR - The famed Cartier Concourse D' Elegance event introduced a special 'Indian Heritage Class', which increased the popularity of made in India classic cars. And now we have many Fiat, Ambassador and even Contessa Club's, and so on. In case the limit is set to 50 years, what happens to these historic cars that are not so old? It will obviously also mean the scrapping of the iconic Maruti Suzuki SS 80, which started the auto revolution in India? Your views on this?
TT - If the limit is set at 50 years, it will be a disaster for all modern classic cars. There is a certain nostalgia associated with the cars mentioned above. To many of us these were the first cars we could afford. From the museum's perspective, I have seen that these vehicles immediately create an emotional connect with visitors. It is imperative that a separate class or category to take care of these vehicles is detailed in the policy. This will allow more individuals to preserve these modern treasures.
The museum has sections devoted exclusively to made in India cars
BR - Are you aware how the government will decide if a car is historic and does not need to be scrapped? Will you or your organization be involved in this decision making?
TT - The government should have a discussion with various automobile associations and museums and take their view point before finalizing the details of the policy. We cannot have a blanket scrappage policy; there are so many aspects that will need to be looked into. Categorization into historic, vintage, classic and modern classics as has been done in many other countries may be the way forward. We would be delighted to be a part of the decision making and defining process if requested.
Indian street scenes are also very well created
BR - Let's take an example. What if someone gets a car as a wedding gift, or wins it as a prize in a contest. Such a car may have a huge emotional value for the family and they may never want to part with it, or scrap it. Will there be a way for them to retain it?
TT The Heritage Transport Museum has been a recipient of many donations of cars in the recent past due to the NGT order banning 15 year old petrol and 10 year old diesel vehicles, in the NCR region. These donors didn't want their cars scrapped as they had an emotional connection with them and wanted them to be preserved. The scrappage policy if not well defined for older vehicles, will result in a similiar situation all over the country, where owners will be forced to approach museums and similiar institutions to keep their cars.
Tarun is at the museum on most weekends interacting with visitors
BR - What in your view is an appropriate scrappage policy for India that will also cater to the interest of car collectors and classic car enthusiasts?
TT - The scrappage policy will be a success only if due attention is given to the various kinds of vehicles in this vast country of ours. A well-defined categorization of vehicles and special status for certain vehicles that have defined India's motoring heritage needs to be put in place. Collector cars are rarely used as daily driver cars and only come on to the roads for maintenance purposes or to participate in exhibitions and events. And this is something the government needs to understand.
The museum showcases various kind of indigenous transport
And has colourful art on some vehicles too