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The green warriors

He calls his bicycle his Rolls Royce. In a city that boasts of the highest car population in the country, Ranmal Jhala zooms through traffic on his trusty bicycle wherever he goes and laughs when someone talks of carbon footprint.

delhi Updated: Dec 01, 2009 00:49 IST

He calls his bicycle his Rolls Royce. In a city that boasts of the highest car population in the country, Ranmal Jhala zooms through traffic on his trusty bicycle wherever he goes and laughs when someone talks of carbon footprint.

“My carbon footprint must be in positive,” says this 54-year-old designer cum environmental activist.

Jhala is a poster-boy of cycling in an age, which is cozying up to the idea of non-motorised transport for reducing carbon emission and chipping in the fight against global warming.

Jhala has been a member of a global cycling movement called Critical Mass. In this, cyclists across the globe gather in their localities on the last Friday of every month and ride a stretch to make a point.

In the last critical mass in Delhi, there were only two cyclists. Needless to say, Jhala was one of them.

"I do not like using cycles for tokenism. People often use this as a symbol against carbon emission, but very few actually use it seriously," he said.

As a 'serious' cyclist, Jhala feels Delhi's roads are hostile for non-motorised transport users because cars "want to steamroll" pedestrians and cyclists.

"Cars are the symbol of consumerism that is at the heart of global carbon emission problem. You take away consumerism, global warming will be reduced in any case."

In Delhi, which is the first city in the country to come up with a Climate Change Action Plan, the cycle movement is slowly gathering steam.

“Around 30 per cent of the members now use cycles in their daily lives for short distances. This number has been growing over the past two years," said Nalin Sinha, head of Delhi Cycling Club, which has around 700 members.

While the Bus Rapid Transit Corridor in South Delhi has a dedicated cycle lane on each carriageway, the Delhi metro's 'Rent A Bicycle' scheme for students at Delhi University too is slowly becoming a hit.

And conservation architect Pradeep Sachdeva is building a 25-km stretch in the city facilitating non-motorised transport. The Delhi Cyling Club members along with the public will be running the Climate Cycle Rally on December 6 on the eve of crucial Climate Talks in Copenhagen.

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