On August 19, when the first batch of Paralympians led by PCI President Deepa Malik, arrived in Tokyo, they received a special welcome at the airport. On this very occasion, she took to her Twitter handle to ask India’s automobile sector, including the leaders Anand Mahindra and Ratan Tata, to make specific changes in the SUVs for more inclusion and ease of movement for the differently-abled.
There was a video in the tweet where Deepa Malik can be seen sitting on the chair of an SUV facing outside. Slowly the chair goes inside the SUV automatically without any manual labour by the person sitting on it.
The tweet said-
Impressed with this technology.Sincerely hope Automobile world in India can give us this dignity and comfort.. I love to drive big SUVs but getting in and out is a challenge, Give me this seat n I buy your SUV @anandmahindra @TataCompanies @RNTata2000 @MGMotorIn #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/0yFGwvl46V— Deepa Malik (@DeepaAthlete) August 20, 2021
Following this, there was a response from Anand Mahindra, Chairman of the Mahindra Group, who assured Malik that he has heard her request and will convey the same to the team at Mahindra Research Valley and mentioned companies like TrueAssisTech, who is also involved this time, who have previously done such special modifications to their cars.
A week ago @DeepaAthlete suggested that we develop SUV’s for those with disabilities. Like the one she uses in Tokyo.I requested my colleague Velu, who heads Development to rise to that challenge. Well, Velu, I’d like to dedicate & gift the first one you make to #AvaniLekhara https://t.co/J6arVWxgSA— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) August 30, 2021
This came after the Mahindra XUV700’s global debut took place on 14th Aug. A few days before that, Anand Mahindra had announced a special edition of XUV700 for Neeraj Chopra, for bringing India’s first-ever Olympic Gold in Javelin throw.
Later Paralympian Sumit Antil also won a Gold in the Javelin throw at the Paralympics and just like Neeraj, Mahindra promised a special edition XUV700 to Sumit too. They both are yet to get their SUVs.
Two months later, we got an update – on October 22, Deepa Malik tweeted-
Thank you @anandmahindra for understanding my @TwitterIndia post reaching out for inclusive assistance in vehicles. Just in few weeks here I am at MRV with your research team and happy to see the ongoing work. You are a man of your words. This is #indiaat75 @narendramodi pic.twitter.com/fBIQJ24HTH— Deepa Malik (@DeepaAthlete) October 22, 2021
The tweet included pictures of Malik at the Mahindra Research Valley as well as the tweet replies from Anand Mahindra and TrueAssisTech, where she visited to test out the special seat feature of the XUV700 which makes the process easier for differently-abled persons.
The company also put out a message “It was inspiring to meet you @DeepaAthlete at Mahindra Research Valley and present our solution and get your valuable feedback. A big thank you to Team Mahindra for reaching out to us and giving us the opportunity to demo our solutions and supporting us all through.”
As for the Mahindra XUV700, the first delivery to its respected owner is slated for 30th October. Since booking opened on 7th Oct, it has already amassed over 65k bookings. But a major challenge for making the deliveries is the ongoing shortage of parts which is hugely affecting global automobile manufacturers, added to the worldwide lockdowns that affected production and transportation.