RAAHGIRI – Reclaiming What Belongs to us
By Kanika Jindal
New Delhi | October 18, 2013
November 10, 2013 will be India's first sustained car free day event – “RAAHGIRI DAY” to be launched by the Gurgaon administration along with support from EMBARQ India, Pedal Yatris, NMT group, the Heritage School, I AM GURGAON. At a press conference on October 18, Mr. Alok Mittal, Commissioner of Police, Gurgaon announced, “Raahgiri day, the first of its kind in India, will be a street event in which every Sunday one whole street will be set aside for non motorized transport users like walkers, runners, skaters and a bike lane will be created on the street in order to make it safe for cyclists to ride. It will not be a one day event, but an ongoing festival for about four months to celebrate vehicle-free and pollution free roads and will be supported by all the major administration units in Gurgaon – HUDA, MCG, PWD and Traffic Police”.
With the support of civil society members and activists like Pedal Yatris, NMT group, the Heritage School and I AM GURGAON, this event has been specially designed to promote cycling and Non Motorized Transportation in the city. It is a known fact that infrastructure in the millennium city has not been able to cope with the rising vehicular population. Citizens of Gurgaon have long been grappling with the effects of a car oriented lifestyle i.e. the lack pedestrian friendly street architecture, air pollution. Worldwide, it has been realised that the solution for traffic problems lies not in building wider roads and more flyovers but in non motorized transport.
‘Raahgiri Day’, known across the world as Ciclovia or Open Streets, will give an opportunity to citizens to reclaim their streets and enjoy recreational activities which promote health, well being, fitness, togetherness and joy. “Indeed this is just a stepping stone to create a greater transformation in the city of Gurgaon and will be followed by the conception of cycling tracks by HUDA and MCG, so that ‘Raahgiri’ becomes the way of life for people”, said Ms. Bharti Arora, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Traffic.
Keeping public convenience in mind, Sunday has been chosen as the day of the event and a route has been mapped for the first month. With the support of the Traffic police, proper traffic diversions will be laid out so that the event does not restrict the routine movement of people in and around that area and can be enjoyed in accordance to its true spirit. Mr. Shekhar Vidyarthi, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Traffic said, “We all know and have heard about the Marathon, but ‘Raahgiri Day’ is a novel concept that will be remembered as an occasion to promote the spirit of adventure among residents; the adventure of exploring your city on a bicycle.” To include the whole of Gurgaon different routes will be chosen for all the months and all kinds of people will be encouraged to chip in – students, working professionals, old and young, families, civil society members, urban villagers, people from the administration of Gurgaon etc. In fact, parking space will be created near the Huda City Metro Station to support people coming from far off places with their families, including the Delhi/NCR region. Mr. Mittal said that he along with his men would definitely be seen cycling on the Raahgiri day and is hopeful that this movement will help in elevating non-motorized transport in Gurgaon.
Know more about the event at: https://www.facebook.com/RaahgiriDay