From smoke-exhaling cars to environment-friendly two-wheeler, Kashmir University's (KU) science department is spearheading a campaign to revive bicycle as popular mode of conveyance on the campus.
Department of electronics and instrumentation technology assistant professor Rouf-ul-Aalam Bhat has become the source of motivation for around a dozen cyclists to paddle in the varsity.
"Bicycles will help safeguard the Kashmir varsity's environment. The bicycle movement in itself will sensitise students about environment and will encourage many to work towards protection of the planet earth," said Bhat, who only commutes by bicycle on the campus spread over 263 acres of land.
Bicycle sales have dropped sharply in the valley with the advent of affordable small cars and scooters. Over the period of time, the use of cycle is being looked down upon as cars have become a status symbol.
"I have been bicycling for 25 years now. People would mock at me for driving a cycle despite being a top varsity official. However, I never gave up," said Dr Khaliquz Zaman Khan, former head of the varsity's chemistry department.
Appreciating students for the initiative, Khan said, "It is good that students are coming forward to save the environment. I personally feel that it doesn't make any sense to come in car within the campus."
Mohsib Nabi Zaroo, electronics department student, who travels 10 km everyday on his bicycle, says "It helps me to keep myself fit both physically and mentally".
Research scholar Nasrul Islam, who has also been motivated by the bicycle movement, said, "I drove bicycle after being motivated by others on the campus."
As visible from parking lots varsity is witnessing increase in number of four wheelers, driven by students and officials, who use cars even to travel from one department to another.
According to Central Pollution Control Board, carbon monoxide (CO) is touching alarming levels in the Kashmir valley.
"Use of vehicles within the campus is the prime reason for air pollution. I appeal people to use cycles and add to our efforts for a greener campus," said Bhat.
"With growing vehicular congestion, rising fuel costs and increasing pollution, people are driven towards cycles. It saves money and also as is the best mode of exercise," said professor Khan.