UP goes Netherlands' way, cycling to be promoted in cities

Lucknow: Bicycle, the election symbol of the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, will soon be part of a new development story inspired by the success of cycling in the Netherlands. A beginning is likely to be made from Noida.

Back from a week-long trip to study how people in the Netherlands embraced cycling as a major mode of transport, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has asked officials to prepare a time-bound programme to set up cycle tracks and stands in select cities and tourist hubs in an effort to control pollution and ease congestion on roads.

Sanjeev Saran, principal secretary for infrastructure and industrial development, said cycling tracks will be necessarily built in new cities.

Officials of Noida, Greater Noida, Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA), Agra Development Authority and Gautam Buddh University have been asked to "get cracking" on what is now emerging as the pet project of the chief minister, he said.

Other than cycle tracks, stands will also be built according to the need so that people start using bicycles in crowded markets instead of four-wheelers, an official told IANS.

A delegation from the Netherlands will soon undertake a tour of the state to partner in this process, the official said.

Rama Raman, chairman of Noida, Greater Noida and YEIDA, said cycle tracks and stands would be provided in Noida and Greater Noida in a time-bound manner.

He also said cycling as a mode of transport would be started from the Gautam Buddha University.

Cycle tracks and stands will be developed inside the university campus for students to move between different departments.

"After two-three months, when students become habituated with the system, power vehicles will be banned inside the campus. Likewise, advice of experts will be sought to develop cycle tracks and stands in the industrial sector, Sector 18 and Labour Chowk," Raman told IANS.

Cycles will be provided to employees and workers of industrial units and officers after consulting the entrepreneurs.

Raman said safe tracks will have to be built for children to use cycles to school.

He said Metro rail commuters use four-wheelers to reach the stations and park their vehicles there to use again for returning home.

If cycle tracks are developed along the roads and stands are provided at Metro stations, then people will certainly prefer to use cycles for commuting, he said.

Gautam Buddha University vice chancellor J.P. Sharma and YEIDA CEO P.C. Gupta have concurred to the proposal of the state government and have assured all possible help.

Sources said cycling will also be promoted in a big way in the tourism sector, especially in places where foreign tourist footfalls are sizable.

"It has been seen that most foreign tourists prefer cycle as a mode of transport when they come to visit places like Agra, Varanasi and Kushinagar and we would like this to become their habit in India as well," another official said.

Officials said cycling will be promoted through rallies and campaigns egging people to take to it as a "preferred mode to move around" especially in busy thoroughfares as it will help ease traffic pressure and congestion.



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