New taxi service

The good old taxi -- or the old-fashioned Ambassador car, if you please – is in for some tough competition now on the Capital’s busy roads.

A brand new air-conditioned radio taxi service, “Meru”, launched in the city this past week, promises to provide a quick response service to daily cab user.

The new service is expected to make a significant contribution to upgrading the public transportation infrastructure in Delhi ahead of the much talked about Commonwealth Games in 2010.

Launched a year ago in Mumbai by V-Link, the taxi service’s unique selling point is that it is fitted with electronic meters and printers and will use GPS-based technology to enable real-time taxi location and despatch.

The Meru service will deploy around 250 taxis in Delhi and increase its fleet to 1,000 by early next year.

The initial platform to deliver the Meru service in Delhi will be the white Maruti Esteem. All Meru cabs are priced at Rs.15 per km as prescribed by the Government for the radio taxi service.

V-Link’s technology ensures that there is a responsive lost-and-found tracking system in place so that any item inadvertently left behind in a Meru cab can be traced to the vehicle that a reporting customer would have used.

Every fare that Meru collects is digitally transmitted back to the control centre and is recorded for reference.

The digital tamper-proof meter on board and the printed receipt for all fares ensure that the passenger pays exactly according to the fare structure and doesn’t have to cough up extra money.

Madhur Tankha

Star show

Cricket apart, if there is anything that sets the collective pulse of the country racing, it is the characteristic brand of melodramatic musicals and deified performers that comprise its film industry.

At the recent release of Bharatiya Janata Party leader L. K. Advani’s memoirs, the centre-stage was yet again usurped, albeit unintentionally, by actor Sanjay Dutt who lent star value to the event along with his new-found bride Manyata.

Pestered no end by photographers to pose for pictures with her, the actor put an arm round his paramour and gave the shutterbugs their quintessential money-shot.

Not just the Press, even on-the-spur-of-the-moment paparazzi brandished their cell phones right in the actor’s handsome visage to capture an image they felt would eventually prove to be, with due respect to Mr. Advani, the high point of their evening,

Sitting patiently through the first half of the function, Dutt finally tuned out of the unending speeches and trudged off with a few male companions, but not before giving Manyata an elaborate and very public embrace.

Speculation was rife over where the popular actor was headed for. Dutt, however, made a prompt reappearance just before the show concluded, entering the viewer’s arena to whisk away his wife lest the clogged roads and overzealous fans prove a deterrent to his exit.

Kunal Diwan

Song for cricket

Noted Sufi singer Kailash Kher has sung an anthem song for the Indian Cricket League.

Delighted at having sung the ICL’s anthem “Dil Pe Liya Re”, Kher says: “It’s a matter of pride to lend my voice to sport. And cricket, at that, is a game every Indian has grown up on. I instantly liked Rajat Dholakia’s composition and Irfan Siddiqui’s lyrics never fail to touch you.”

Dholakia is winner of two national awards, while Siddiqui is known for his lyrics in “Iqbal”, the much talked about movie with a sports theme.

A bevy of Bollywood starlets such as Neha Dhupia, Kim Sharma, Aarti Chhabria, Rakhi Sawant, Sanober Kabir, Koena Mitra, VJ Sophie, Mahima Chaudhry and Amrita Arora have performed at the matches.

When the tournament began at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium in neighbouring Gurgaon over the weekend, actress Celina Jaitley performed a medley of the latest Bollywood hits and cheered the “Delhi Giants” as they played the “Lahore Badshahs”.

Staff Reporter