Wednesday, June 5, 2013

M&M launches Verito Vibe at a starting price of Rs 5.63 lakh

Heating up the competition in the auto industry, Mahindra & Mahindra on Wednesday launched the Verito Vibe compact car at a starting price of Rs 5.63 lakh (ex-showroom Mumbai).

The Verito Vibe will come in three variants D2 (Rs 5.63 lakh), D4 (Rs 5.89 lakh) and D6 (Rs 6.49 lakh). Vibe will be offered in seven colour variants.

The ARAI claimed fuel efficiency of the saloon is 20.8 km/litre. M&M is offering Verito Vibe with a 3 year/100,000 km warranty. The sub-4 metre car has the same 1.5-litre, 65PS dCi diesel unit that does duty on the Verito.

The car boasts of 330 litres of boot space. The latest offering from M&M is likely to compete with Maruti Swift, Toyota Liva and Honda Brio. According to M&M, the Verito Vibe is a wide bodied compact car that offers seating for three adults in the rear seat. The car boasts of three adjustable rear headrests. The vehicle has been designed with LED light streaming tail lamps on the C-pillar.

The D6 is also the only variant to come with safety features such as ABS with EBD, and driver airbag.

With an overall length at 3,991mm, the Verito Vibe falls well below the crucial 4-metre mark. This means that it can enjoy excise duty benefits.

Having a presence in the small car market will be a positive if demand returns in the next fiscal year.

"Verito Vibe gives us the opportunity to play in the large and highly competitive compact car segment," Pravin Shah, head of Mahindra's automotive division, told media.

The flagship company of the $16 billion Mahindra Group builds every other SUV sold in India, but its share in the segment fell to 48 per cent in the fiscal year that ended in March from 56 per cent a year earlier, according to data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

In the passenger car segment, which excludes utility vehicles and vans, the company last year held less than 1 per cent of the market that is dominated by Maruti Suzuki.

Key to Mahindra holding its market share is not a small car but more SUV launches, some analysts say.

"Mahindra will continue to lose market share in the overall passenger vehicle industry, because of lack of new launches (by Mahindra) in the SUV segment and an extremely competitive environment thanks to launches by their competitors," said Yaresh Kothari, an auto analyst with Mumbai-based Angel Broking.

Renault SA's Duster has become popular in India since its introduction last year, and Mahindra must also compete with automakers including Ford Motor Co and Japan's Nissan Motor Co Ltd, both of which are expected to launch SUVs this year. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Campaign to create awareness of traffic rules launched

The traffic police department launched a campaign in the city on Monday for creating awareness about traffic rules.Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Traffic Abdul Khalique Sheikh said the 13-day ‘Traffic Awareness Campaign 2013’ would continue till April 28.

“Karachi is the largest city of Pakistan and it is also the country’s hub of industrial and economic activity,” he said, adding that the volume of traffic had increased manifold in the metropolis in the past two decades.

The city is spread over 3,500 square kilometers and the length of its roads and streets is 30,000 kilometres. The length of roads with marked lanes is190 kilometres, and the total static traffic duty points are 970.

The total number of registered vehicles in Karachi is about 3.14 million and the number of vehicles increasing per day is 800 on average. The number of heavy and light vehicles entering the city daily is about 13,000 and the estimated number of commuters is six million.

Speaking at a media briefing, the traffic DIG said the manpower ratio to the numbers of vehicles and population was low.

“The total working strength of the traffic police is 3,349, while the number of registered vehicles is about three million, which means a ratio of 1:1,119. The city’s population is about 16 million, with its ratio to the traffic staffers standing at 1:5,971.”

Sheikh said the volume of traffic was more than the capacity of roads, and there was inadequate deployment of staffers due to a shortage of manpower. Other problems compounding traffic problems were encroachments, lack of parking places, illegal intercity and provincial bus terminals, damaged roads, development works, roads under construction, and excavation of roads and footpaths by civic agencies without prior notice and coordination with the traffic police, he noted.

Sheikh said most accidents took place due to negligence, reckless driving and speeding, unfamiliarity with rules, mechanical failures on major thoroughfares, defective traffic engineering, bad road conditions, inadequate pedestrian facilities, encroachments, lengthy court proceedings and a slow response to emergency.

To resolve the issues, he said, the traffic department had decided to adopt concrete measures. He pointed out a Command and Control Room had been established at the CPO, Karachi, 198 cameras installed at 40 important intersections, 10 main roads declared model roads with zero tolerance for violators, and 170 enforcement officers deployed in two shifts.

Car patrolling on important roads, i.e. Sharea Faisal, Korangi Road, Sunset Boulevard Road and Mai Kolachi Road, had been introduced and a vigilance team deployed to check the working and any irregularities committed by traffic field staff, he said.

Apart from that, traffic helpline ‘Rehnuma-1915’ is working round the clock and the minimum fine has been increased from Rs500 to Rs2,000 for different violations.

The DIG traffic said that for better traffic management they had made some suggestions, which included a mass transit system and the construction of roads on both embankments of the Malir River from the Malir bridge upto Khayaban-e-Ittehad, and as well as an elevated expressway from the West Wharf to the Northern Bypass. Parking Plazas in commercial areas like Saddar, Bolton Market, Tariq Road and Clifton have also been proposed. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Caretaker setup : Civil society demands end to stalemate

A number of civil society groups came together to demand the end to a deadlock over the selection of the caretaker setup that is preventing a smooth transformation to the democratic process of elections in the country.

In a statement issued in Karachi on Tuesday the civil society groups observed that what was supposed to be a serious democratic exercise has turned into a point-scoring game with all political parties wanting their favourite candidate to be selected as the caretaker Prime Minister. Every political party has a list of candidates they support suggesting that knowingly or unknowingly all parties want the caretaker PM to favour their interests. This is a complete mockery of the democratic procedure that requires consensus on an individual with professional integrity and competency having the capability to implement the mandate of conducting free and fair elections.

The main qualification of a caretaker Prime Minister should be honesty, integrity, administrative and professional skills and respect for the rule of law. The caretaker PM’s job is to facilitate a set up to ensure impartial elections including facilitating conducive environment to ensure that the Election Commission carries out its job independent of any influences. The caretaker PM must also supervise that all sections of the population including women and minorities are able to exercise their right to cast vote without the interference of the outside forces. The caretaker setup should comprise members who represent and protect the interests of the marginalized, including workers, peasants and women.

The civil society groups also demanded that the suggested candidates having links with international financial institutions should be kept away from the democratic process. With all due respect to their credentials as competent professionals, they are also responsible for causing damage to the country’s economy and political and administrative set up because of the policies they sought to impose on direction from the international agencies. This is an issue of basic democratic principles. The caretaker set up’s job is merely to ensure free and fair elections. Favouring the proposed candidates for the purpose that they will help access concessions from the IMF is an undemocratic step.

The government is urged to refrain from sensationalizing the selection of the caretaker setup as that is not only preventing the smooth running of the affairs of the country, it is unnecessarily creating controversies that may harm the electoral process. The parties should develop a consensus soon and announce the caretaker government in the interest of protecting democracy that has repeatedly come under attack during the course of the last five years.

Citing the example of Fakhruddin G Ebrahim who was proposed as a candidate for the position of the Chief Election Commission Pakistan by the opposition party, the PML-N, and had the consensus of all political parties for his integrity, independence and professional ethics, it was suggested that a similar approach be adopted for the selection of the caretaker PM. An impartial caretaker set up is most critical for the smooth transition to the next democratically elected set up and only a candidate with no vested interests attached to any group or institution is capable of handling the job. pr

Monday, February 25, 2013

Civil society protests Lyari student’s murder

A large number of civil society activists including students staged a protest demonstration before the Karachi Press Club here on Sunday and demanded immediate arrest of killers of Jamal Qadri, a BCom student belonging to Lyari.

The protestors said armed bandits targeted two twin brothers Jamal Qadri and Haider Qadri, sons of Dr Abdul Ghafoor Qadri of Lyari General Hospital, on January 2 while they were going to Karachi University from their house at Agra-Taj Colony. Jamal Qadri died on the spot while Haider Qadri sustained serious injuries and still fighting for life in a local hospital.

Students Action Committee leader Syed Abdul Rasheed, Human Rights Network chairman Intikhab Alam Soori, and other civil society leaders in their speeches said that today (Jan 27) was the birthday of slain Jamal Qadri.

They said the Supreme Court had taken notice of the murder of a posh area resident Shahbez, and it should also take notice of the murder of Jamal Qadri, a resident of poor slum area so that erroneous notion that law is there for the rich only could be proved wrong.

They gave the government ultimatum of three days to arrest the killers of Qadri and warned to take to streets along with the whole youth of the area if the government ignored their demand. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Top 3 health tips: Add years to your life

Women's Health magazine, published by Rodale, has steps you can take right now to help prolong your life. Follow these tips to lengthen your life and be a little healthier along the way:


1 Looking to whittle your middle? Avoiding processed foods with trans fats will help. Studies show that this type of fat packs on the most belly blubber, so limit yourself to 2 grams daily.

Women's Health magazine, published by Rodale, has steps you can take right now to help prolong your life. Follow these tips to lengthen your life and be a little healthier along the way:


1 Looking to whittle your middle? Avoiding processed foods with trans fats will help. Studies show that this type of fat packs on the most belly blubber, so limit yourself to 2 grams daily.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Follow these tips for healthy holiday eating

Eating healthy and staying fit are not usually on the priority list during the holidays. But health experts say it is important to try to keep yourself on track during the season.

"People need to keep their current health routines going," said Becky Porter, a dietitian with the Tulsa City-County Health Department. "I know it's tempting to let the crazy, hectic holiday schedule take over, but people really need to work to make sure they're getting enough sleep and to maintain their exercise habits."

Don Wilber, a physician with the Oklahoma-based health maintenance organization GlobalHealth, said, "The CDC recently reported that the diabetes rate in Oklahoma has tripled over the last 15 years, which is largely a result of the increasing rate of obesity in our state. As such, it's important that we encourage Oklahomans to eat right and stay active by following a few simple steps, especially with the holidays in full swing."

Here are a few tips Porter and GlobalHealth recommend to help:

Plan ahead

Porter said planning ahead, whether you're eating out or heading to a party, can help you make better decisions.

Check menu nutrition information online before you head to a restaurant. If you're going to an evening party, save calories and prevent hunger by eating light, high-fiber meals during the day.

Pack healthy snacks

If you're going to be traveling a lot during the holidays, GlobalHealth suggests packing healthy snacks to help you avoid fast food.

Some options include fruit, granola bars and packets of almonds.

Limit the drinks

Porter advises keeping the alcohol to a minimum - approximately one drink for a woman and one to two for a man.

"It can weaken your resolve," she said.

Also, try to avoid drinking your calories.

Avoid soda, eggnog and other high-calorie drinks to make more room for food.

Break up exercise routine

If you have trouble keeping up your regular exercise routine because of a busy schedule, break it up into smaller pieces, suggests the GlobalHealth tipsheet.

Fit in a few 10-minute bursts of cardio when you have some time during the day.

Avoid the buffet table

To keep yourself from having seconds, fill your plate up once, then move away from the buffet table.

As Porter says, "Make the evening more about socializing."