Protests against cycling ban on major Kolkata roads

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cycle-ban-kolkataKolkata: Around two thousand angry cyclists on Wednesday, Oct 2, 2013 staged screaming protests within the heart of this Eat-India metropolis against the police implementing a ban on non-motorised vehicles from 174 town streets.

Raising slogans against the recent seizure of bicycles and imposition of fines by the police on riders as a follow-up of the ban, the protestors cried: “Give our cycles back” as they converged within the promenade space of town, despite the hot sun.

Street plays were staged and songs were sung as a part of the protest.

Cyclists, rickshaw-pullers, milkmen and newspaper vendors were among the protestors, who control placards containing statistics concerning environmental pollution caused by motored-fitted vehicles.

Gautam Shroff, an authorised of an area athletics cycling, “Ride to Breathe” dubbed the authorities’ call “crazy”.

“At a time once several governments were promoting cycle to cut back pollution, here one sees the alternative. this is often a crazy call,” he said.

The Kolkata Traffic Police, through a May 29th, 2013 Gazette Notification, illegal cycles, hand carts, pull-carts, tri-cycles and alternative types of non-motorized vehicles from 174 major and minor streets within the town.

The government claimed the restrictions were obligatory to bring down traffic jams and increase the common speed of vehicles within the full town.

Describing the choice as “anti-poor”, the National Alliance of People’s Movement – an umbrella body of civil society organisations, movements and people – recently asked West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to revoke the ban.

In a letter to Banerjee signed, among others, by Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar, the body same the order profaned the National Urban Transport Policy of 2006 and was additionally an “assault on the livelihoods of social class people”.

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