CHURUMURI POLL: Will a Rs 1 lakh car kill India?

It is a question everybody asks Ratan Tata, as Time magazine does in its June 26 issue: when will his dream of a "$ 2,200, four-door, rear-engine" one lakh rupee car attain fruition? It is a question everybody asks Jagadish Khattar: will Tatas' one lakh rupee car affect Maruti? And it is a question that is in every auto magazine's pages and on every auto analyst's lips.

But, here are questions no one wants to ask: does India really require such a car, which Ratan Tata wants to sell one million of in the first year, 2008? What will it do to our already crowded and overflowing roads and streets? What will it do to our energy requirements? How good can a one lakh rupee car be when a good bike costs Rs 60,000? Can it really be safe? Do the Tatas, who have otherwise shown such care and concern in their corporate strategy and philosophy, abandoned it all for a few dollars more?