Aamby-guity, attachment may throw rally out of gear

Apex motoring body prays Sahara problems don’t slam brakes on women’s empowerment event in the valley


Pushpa Nissar, last year's participant sends a social message

The Western India Automobile Association (WIAA) is watching the ongoing imbroglio over Aamby Valley attachment by the Supreme Court, with growing concern.

The motoring body is also fielding questions from women about their event 'Rally To The Valley' slated for March 5. "We are hopeful that the problem will be solved in a couple of days,” said WIAA chairman, Nitin Dossa.

Mobile window for social causes
Mobile window for social causes

Annual event for women
The Rally to the Valley is an annual event to mark International Women's Day on March 8. This year though, the rally will be held on March 5, as it is a Sunday closest to the date. It is usually flagged off from Sahara Star hotel in Vile Parle and ends at Aamby Valley, a distance of 150 km. An all-women’s rally, one can have up to four women in a car — a driver, navigator and two other participants.

Dossa says, "We are still upbeat about Aamby, because I consider it the Switzerland of the state. Yet, we are monitoring the news closely and we may have one informal meeting with Sahara by the end of the week on how to go ahead."

He added that they have not stopped taking in entries, with the fee for each car at Rs 5,000.

Route runner
Rally route co-ordinator Haresh Anjaria says, “This rally has become synonymous with Aamby. The route is tough in places and in fact, we work so much in advance that we are already putting in place the route for next year.”

Nitin Dossa, Vijay Mallya and Jean Todt, President FIA, flagging off the first rally in 2015
Nitin Dossa, Vijay Mallya and Jean Todt, President FIA, flagging off the first rally in 2015

Message of empowerment
A notable feature of the rally is the social messages on the cars — from girl’s education, to stopping acid attacks to women’s safety. The messages are reinforced because all the supporters en route are also exposed to them.

So while organizers may have logistics to consider, the women in the rally are already praying that nothing stymies the rally. Says Dr Vaishali Das, participant, “The rally is not only a test of driving skill, its two-pronged aim of empowerment and spreading social messages is also important.”

Sahara says
Sahara refused to comment on the Aamby Valley attachment, saying only that the Aamby Valley has been under embargo (which means it cannot be sold) for a while, and now it has been attached.

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