Gur­gaonites go car free to fight smog

Gur­gaon cit­i­zens to take up #TheCarFreeChall enge. For a week, they will walk, cy­cle and use public trans­port only

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - Live - - Time Out - Ruchika Garg

There is no park­ing space and des­ig­nated lanes for cy­clists. Due to poor in­fra­struc­ture, opt­ing for cy­cle as a reg­u­lar means of trans­porta­tion is im­pos­si­ble at times SARIKA PANDA, A CY­CLIST WHO HAS SIGNED UP FOR THE CAM­PAIGN

C ur­rent sce­nario in Delhi-NCR: Schools be­ing shut, kids and adults ad­vised not to step out, park­ing prices ris­ing many­fold, and the Cap­i­tal be­ing de­scribed as a ‘gas cham­ber’ due to smog.

The gov­ern­ment agen­cies are still de­bat­ing on the need for im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Odd-Even car scheme, and other mea­sures to con­trol the smog sit­u­a­tion. Mean­while, the cit­i­zens of Gur­gaon have come up with a week-long cam­paign called #TheCarFreeChal­lenge to high­light the in­fras­truc­tural prob­lems faced by pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists. The cam­paign mo­ti­vates res­i­dents to take up the chal­lenge, and con­trib­ute in re­duc­ing smog, to breathe in fresh air.

“The drive will be ob­served from Novem­ber 20 to 26. So far, 70 peo­ple have signed up, and by the time it starts, we ex­pect more than 100 peo­ple to join in. We want to cre­ate an in­clu­sive ap­proach to public trans­port,” says Manas Fu­lo­ria, mem­ber of Raah­giri Foun­da­tion — or­gan­is­ers of the cam­paign.

Sarika Panda, who or­gan­ises weekly cy­cle rides, and is a sup­porter of this cam­paign, says, “Ev­ery­one dis­cour­ages use of cars, but, be­ing a cy­clist, I know what prob­lems cy­clists or pedes­tri­ans face on the road. We have such ba­sic in­fra­struc­ture that opt­ing for cy­cle as a reg­u­lar means of trans­porta­tion is im­pos­si­ble at times.”

Latika Thukral, a Gur­gaon res­i­dent, agrees: “Peo­ple who live within 5km ra­dius of the metro are un­will­ing to walk or cy­cle be­cause of the poor fa­cil­i­ties.”

The prob­lems are not new, but the at­tempt to find so­lu­tions is. Panda adds, “In this cam­paign, we will walk and use cy­cles, metro and other means of public trans­port for a week, and later will share our ex­pe­ri­ence with the me­dia and the city ad­min­is­tra­tion. If right steps are taken, even traffic [woes] will be less.”

PHOTO: ARVIND YA­DAV/HT; PIC­TURE FOR REPRESENTATIONAL PUR­POSE ONLY

Gur­gaonites will pedal for the cause of safe en­vi­ron­ment.

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