As the Centre is mulling the implementation periodic inspection & maintenance (I&M) for all automobiles by government certified mechanics across the country mandatory by early 2011, the National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRiP which is under the ministry of heavy industries) is now in the process of setting up a mechanic training school in Jaffirbond in Assam that will be operational by May this year.
The NATRiP project of setting up six homologation centres for automobiles across the country at an estimated cost of Rs 1800 crore is also on track.
"There will be a demand for such certified mechanics who can conduct the I&M operations for all vehicles from commercial vehicles to passenger cars. The institute will be able to train 100 to 150 students per year for a one-year full training course. It will also offer refresher courses for those currently working in the industry.", said Ranojoy Mukerji, NATRiP, Advisor (corporate communications). He added that the Centre is likely to implement stringent rules for I&M by early next year that will include annual check ups for all commercial vehicles together with once in 15 years inspection for cars, and subsequently once in every five years.
"We are also thinking of certifying certain garages across the country who will be authorised to run these routine checks for the government.", Mukerji said. A drivers' training institute has also been started at Dholchora near Silchar in Assam. The net investment on both these training institutes has been around Rs 63 crore.
NATRiP is also in the process of setting up six homologation centres across the country for testing automobiles. Of the six, the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) in Pune, the Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (VRDE), Ahmednagar and the International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) , Manesar are alreay operational. Another two are planned at Chennai and Assam.
While the entire project is estimated to be completed by September 2011, the testing track for high speed vehicles at the Indore centre would be operational by 2012. "While the net project cost was initially pegged at Rs 1718 crore, it has now escalated to Rs 1800 crore owing to foreign exchange fluctuations.", Mukerji told Business Standard.
The project aims at creating core global competencies in automotive sector in India.