Reporter’s Notebook | Of hired bodyguards, Tata caps and Z category security alerts

Reporter’s Notebook | Of hired bodyguards, Tata caps and Z category security alerts
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First Published: Thu, Jan 10 2008. 12 57 AM IST
Updated: Thu, Jan 10 2008. 12 57 AM IST
New Delhi: The security and secrecy surrounding the Rs1 lakh car, which Tata Motors Ltd is unveiling today, rivals that of the Harry Potter books before they go on sale.
Tata Motors has apparently deployed Z category security, normally associated with political elite, with armed guards escorting a convoy of five trucks, only some of which had the prototypes.
For good reason, as papparazzi, photographers from motoring magazines, tailing the convoy from Pune to New Delhi. It has worked so far—forcing some to make do with artist sketches of the car.
Come unveiling ceremony time though, Tata Motors have invited all rival company executives.
Whether they will allow these people to take a close look at the engine and under the hood is another question.
* * *
After queueing up to showcase their products at the Auto Expo a day before the Tata small car grabs all the attention, some 10 companies scheduled their product launches for Wednesday.
With as many as 29 countries participating in the expo this year, the 9th Auto Expo is indeed shaping up to be the most international and diverse to date.
We gave up after counting 17 different languages, and we are not talking Indian languages here.
* * *
You may have to wait for a while before you can get into a Rs1 lakh car or drive a Tata Motors-made Jaguar or Land Rover, but when it comes to lifestyle accessories—keychains, caps, T-shirts—the company isn’t holding back.
You can pick up a Tata cap at Rs100 or a Dicor (the company’s brand name for its diesel technology) riding jacket for Rs500.
* * *
Shamsher Singh Pehlwan stands 6ft 2” and, as his name suggests, he is indeed a professional wrestler and body builder. And, he is the man making sure the hoi polloi don’t come within five feet of Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Motors. Singh and his crew of 12 are often hired by the company to protect Tata, says Singh.
His charges? Rs2,000 per bodyguard per day.
* * *
The Capital’s citizens woke up Wednesday to news of how local police want to make driving under the influence of alcohol a criminal offence.
But help may be on hand.
Volvo Car Corp. is close to introducing the Alcoguard, a device that will let a driver breathe into it after a night of partying and, which, on finding that the alcohol in your blood is above the permissible limit, automatically freezes the engine till it’s operated by someone who passes its test.
It only costs €800 (Rs46,320), but then, it will only work if you are sober enough to use it in the first place or have a non-drinking buddy along for the ride.
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First Published: Thu, Jan 10 2008. 12 57 AM IST