Raahgiri continues its march
By Kanika Jindal December 9, 2013 | Gurgaon
In four short weeks, Sunday mornings in Gurgaon are no longer the same. The Raahgiri circuit is abuzz with joggers, runners, families, and kids reclaiming their streets. This past Sunday on December 8, the streets saw a variety of activities, from fitness challenges to pottery workshops.
Theatre groups from different schools in Gurgaon performed street plays while the Haryana Police demonstrated several marshal art techniques. While motivating the audience to participate and learn, Nazneen Bhasin, DCP (east) Gurgaon, pointed out that, “[T]hese skills can be used by women to safeguard themselves when they are in a vulnerable situation”.
Dario Hidalgo, Head- Research and Practice, EMBARQ and former director of Transmilineo, Bogota also participated in Raahgiri Day this week. He cycled the 4.5km circuit and said, "I have seen one thing that remains common between people in Bogota and here — the spirit of ownership and celebration, which is prevalent throughout. But what will make a real difference is a sustained effort, so that Gurgaon can lead its way to the construction of permanent bikeways”.
The show stealer this Raahgiri Day was an initiative by enthusiastic residents of Gurgaon and supporters of Non-motorized Transport (NMT) who applied retro-reflective tape on the cyclists to help make them visible in the dark. At the stall, reflectors were applied for free for underprivileged cyclists, the other raahgiri visitors were requested to make a voluntary donation of Rs. 30 to cover costs of the reflectors. Citizens on their way to work on a Sunday — guards, cleaners, maids etc —had reflectors affixed to their cycles for free. Commissioner of Police, Mr Alok Mittal, appreciated the initiative saying, “I will fully support it so that this can be taken across Gurgaon, especially in the congested areas where cycle and cycle rickshaw volumes are high.”
The success of Raahgiri Day has been phenomenal. In four short weeks, over 50,000 people have already participated and the number is growing. Cycle vendors in Gurgaon are seeing an increased footfall in their stores with a significant rise in cycle buyers. As it gathers momentum, Raahgiri Day will hopefully go a long way in making Gurgaon a safer city to live and walk in.