Before the lockdown, Mumbai-based Ketan Rawal’s vanity vans were in business throughout the year, but with film shootings having come to a standstill, so has his fleet of 45 vehicles. However, he has decided to put the vanity vans to good use, with 18 vans servicing police personnel on blockade duty.
The cops can now use the washroom, change clothes or have lunch inside the vanity vans. “It was heartbreaking to see cops eat meals on the road. The women travelled 2-3 kilometres to use washrooms at the police station. When I met some of these women officers, I came to know they drank less water so that they can avoid using the washroom often. They are on duty even when menstruating. I thought a vanity van would make them a little more comfortable as they do their duty,” Rawal said.
Ketan Rawal is also ready to give his vanity vans to doctors and nurses. He said, “I am not Ratan Tata or Akshay Kumar. I might not be able to help in a big way, but with what resources I have, I should contribute to the frontline healthcare workers. If doctors and nurses need these vanity vans to do their duty or for community testing, etc., I am willing to supply my vanity vans to them as well.”
Before the lockdown, Rawal would supply “around 50-60 vans (including other vendors’ vans) daily. All of these vans would be given out to various actors like Saif Ali Khan, Sunny Deol, Arjun Rampal, Taapsee Pannu, Kangana Ranaut, Sonakshi Sinha, Shilpa Shetty and film directors like Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Rohit Shetty.”
However, Ketan Rawal’s vanity van business, which started in 2005, came to a standstill on March 17 in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Rawal said, “We are losing Rs 1 lakh worth of business every day. We are still paying heavy taxes. We have to pay Rs 1,25,000 RTO tax yearly per vanity van, whether our business is operating or not. Other states in India pay Rs 12,000 as tax, but in Mumbai, we pay ten times more. We are paying our drivers and cleaners too as we have to take care of our employees in such difficult times.”
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