New Delhi - Thanks, but no thanks, said Indian Olympic gymnast Dipa Karmakar as she returned a car she'd received as a gift to commemorate her performance in Brazil this summer, according to news reports on Wednesday.
But she didn't return the gift because of any scandal. Nor were there concerns that taking the gift was inappropriate.
No, the problem is that it's not worth the trouble of owning a luxury car in India once one factors in poor roads and maintenance costs, the Olympian's family said.
Karmakar, 23, the first female Indian gymnast to qualify for an Olympic Games put up a stellar show at the Rio event, but narrowly missed out on a medal.
Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar gave a BMW X1 each to Karmakar and two Indian woman medallists on behalf of the Hyderabad Badminton Association in August.
Karmakar's coach, Bisheswar Nandi, said her family would have difficulties in maintaining such a posh car in her home city of Agartala, where roads were narrow and not well-maintained.
“First, there is no BMW service centre in Agartala and, secondly, the roads are not suitable to drive a posh car such as this,” he told the Times of India daily.
Her father, Dulal Karmakar, confirmed that the association had accepted their request to replace the BMW with another car by giving a sum equivalent to the price of the luxury car.
This lady is showing terrific character! Kudos! Dipa Karmakar to return her BMW owing to maintenance issues https://t.co/Vr3DAWJW3y
Very thankful to Sachin sir for gifting me BMW but cannot maintain in tripura, so giving back. Thank you for agreeing to give funds for it.
India has a notorious reputation for having the world's deadliest roads, with an estimated average of 135 000 fatalities in traffic accidents every year.
The spate of road crashes is blamed on poorly maintained roads and vehicles as well as negligent driving.