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Iconic Bajaj Chetak returns in modern avatar

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New Delhi:  Over 13 years after it ceased production, Bajaj Auto has relaunched its iconic ‘Chetak’ scooter in an electronic configuration. In an event in Delhi on Wednesday, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and NITI Aayog chief Amitabh Kant sat on two models of the electric Chetak, flanked by Rajiv Bajaj, the head of Bajaj Auto.

“We have decided to move towards electric vehicles (EV) and started its production in September at the Chakan plant,” Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director, Bajaj Auto said at the event on Wednesday.

The electric scooter market in the country is probably the most viable option for automakers right now, with cars proving to be an expensive proposition to sell. This, however, comes naturally to Bajaj, and according to the company’s chief, “electric vehicles cannot be made at the click of a finger by anyone.”

The company plans to start selling electric scooters (e-scooter) under the Chetak brand January onwards from Pune and then move to Bengaluru; and after gauging the response, expand operations to other locations.

The e-scooter would be rolled out from the company’s Chakan plant and would be retailed from the company’s Pro-Biking dealerships.

The company also plans to export the model to various relevant markets in Europe from next year itself. The Electric Chetak offers a driving range of 95 km in ECO mode and 85 km in SPORTS mode.

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FM Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India, BPCL to be sold by March 2020

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New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said that the central government is looking to wrap up the sale of state-run companies Air India and Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) by March next year.

Sitharaman said that the sale has been strategically decided upon after being aborted a year ago due to lukewarm responses. Many investors have shown interest to purchase the two loss-making companies and it could help meet the government’s disinvestment target of Rs 1 lakh crore in the current fiscal year, she said in an interview.

“We are moving on both with the expectation that we can complete them this year. The ground realities will play out,” Sitharaman stated while speaking to The Times of India.

Earlier this month, Air India chairman Ashwani Lohani, in an open letter to Air India employees, had said that the divestment may enable the airline’s sustainability.

For Air India, there is a “lot of interest” among investors, Ms Sitharaman said.

Recently, the cabinet approved changes in the process of disinvestment where the prospective bidders will be heard in roadshows before the expressions of interest (EoIs) are floated so that concerns of the prospective buyers are addressed.

Last year, the government had floated the Expression of Interest (EoI) for Air India to offload a 76 per cent stake and management control in the airline but it did not get a single bidder. The government currently owns 100 per cent equity of Air India.

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