The early morning fog on Friday didn’t stop cyclists kick off the fourth car-free day at the Delhi University North campus which received a mixed response, including a protest against the Aam Aadmi Party-led government.
Cars were seen plying freely during the first hour, leading to Delhi transport minister Gopal Rai criticising the Delhi police for not facilitating the initiative.
“You asked us not to send volunteers to control traffic for car-free day but now you are not diverting cars. If you have promised to do something, please do,” Rai commented.
At around 9 am, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia flagged off the cycle rally that saw large numbers turn up, including a group of students who cycled to the event and took out a rally between Vishwavidyalaya metro station and the Chhatrasal Stadium.
A couple from Tilak Nagar also reached the north campus but instead held protests against the government and demanded to speak to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal over allegations of corruption among the local leaders.
Loudspeakers lined the car-free route, guiding participants and even raising awareness about the need for reducing traffic and pollution in the city. A three-piece band also added to the din, playing Bollywood music as well patriotic songs.
Students were the most enthusiastic, turning up with messages written on placards besides cycling to the event. “During weekends, we cycle in parks and our colony streets. Today, we got an opportunity to ride on the roads. Such car-free day should happen more frequently,” said Venkatesh Srinivasan, class 10 student of Maharaja Agrasen School.
To further drive home the point, the Delhi government handed out saplings to everyone.