Now, Raahgiri in Navi Mumbai!
By Priyanka Vasudevan and Shreyansh Shah Mumbai | June 12, 2014
Initiated in March 2014, Raahgiri has been welcomed by the citizens of Navi Mumbai. In its fourth week, Raahgiri Day saw over 3000 participants. Organised by the Times of India (TOI), the event, along the lines of Raahgiri Day in Gurgaon, has seen a prodigious growth.
Each Sunday a 1.25-km portion of the busy Palm Beach Road in Navi Mumbai is blocked to all motorized vehicles from 6am to 9am, allowing people to enjoy it as public space. In the absence of vehicles from their routine, new patterns of public interaction can be seen on the street. Morning walkers, cyclists, yoga teachers, aerobics instructors, and skaters all take to the streets. Kids play safely, while elders chat with old friends and make new ones.Many people participated in all the activities organized, right from the lively zumba to aerobics and the more calm yoga sessions. A major part of the closed-off Palm Beach Road became a space for families and friends to walk, jog, and cycle. Using ToI advertisement boards, some children even improvised to create a little soccer field, inviting others to join in. On an otherwise predominantly car-only space, such activities have brought much-needed vibrancy to the locale.
Happy participants: On our causal interaction with people there, the responses gave us a sense that people felt relaxed and recharged. Some people suggested that such an activity would do good if it were extended to include Saturdays as well. A father who had come with his 8 year old son toldus that they cycled all the way from their home in Kharghar (about 9 kms) to the venue, which they normally would have driven by car. Several kids from nearby placesalso reached the venue usingtheir bicycles and the stretch provided them with a safe environment to ride comfortably. Aimed to promote sustainable transport, the key aim of the event is to raise awareness and promotepeople to use non- motorized modes of transport on a daily basis.
Raahgiri Day does not only help individuals, but communities as a whole. The event indicates that it promotes social integration andallows people of different backgrounds to come together. With a load of health benefits it brings along-with, it can be estimated that for every rupee invested in Raahgiri, the benefits to savings in healthcare is manifold.
We hope to see the event being extended in time and to other parts of the city, which will benefit an even larger number of people and ultimately lead to social inclusion and equity apart from the associated health benefits