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Walkathon turns into 'weak'athon

The walkathon, organised by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, to promote road safety did not get the response they had expected

While Sunday’s Mumbai Marathon witnessed tremendous success, with more than 39,000 people participating, the same cannot be said about the State Government’s Road Safety Walkathon. As a part of the 25th edition to promote road safety, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways decided to organise a Walkathon as a last-minute initiative. However, the event did not go as plan.

The Central Ministry issued the notification on January 3 to organise the event with most state governments and looked to start the road safety programme from January 11-13. However, the Maharashtra government has been conducting it for a fortnight and started on January 3 itself.

“We were not given sufficient time to conduct the walkathon across the city,” said an RTO official who chose to remain anonymous. The only place where the walkathon was conducted was in south Mumbai. According to the original plan the Central government looked to involve agencies like the police, health, information and publicity, PWD, education, transport authorities with voluntary organisations to participate in large numbers. However, the response was quite weak. Only 1,500 students from schools and colleges turned up for the event.

“It takes months to plan such events. Ten days isn’t enough. Plus, with the winter vacations we could not get enough people to participate, including students,” said another official. The students walked approximately 2 kms from the end of Nariman Point northwards on Marine Drive.

They held placards during the walk, spreading the message of the importance of wearing helmets and safety while driving on the road. Principal Secretary of Transport, SK Sharma, said, “The walkathon was a success with good participation.” According to the Road Transport ministry, more than 1.38 lakh people have died due to road accidents in India in 2012, which is the highest in the world.

1,500
The number of people who turned up for the Walkathon

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