The objective: to inspire the country to change and use sustainable modes of transportation. The means: bicycling from Srinagar to Kanyakumari.
Pune's Ashik Jain is only of 22, but stands tall for what he dreams to achieve. Jain stopped at Ramgarhia Girls College here on Tuesday afternoon to throw light on his efforts. Jain says that since he pedalled off from Srinagar on February 11, he made it a point to stop at as many schools and colleges as possible to highlight the advantages of cycling, walking and public transport over cars and other automobiles, which lead to traffic congestion and pollution.
"Most Indian cities and towns have not been able to solve traffic problems. I feel that if we don't encourage cycling or the use of public transport, we would never be able solve our traffic problems," he said. "Since I have specialised in urban designing from Pune, I get worried when I notice no proper lanes for cycling and at the same time no proper footpaths for pedestrians. This is one core reason for discouraging people from walking and cycling on roads".
He says that India must look to Europe for motivation. "We must get inspired by European cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam where 70% of the citizens use bicycles. That is why these cities have no traffic or pollution problems. We must not forget that cycling is eco-friendly and also keeps us fit,"
Jain also carries a report of IIT-Delhi on the subject and it also has his inputs, examples and opinions.
Jain says he was in Amritsar recently and he meet chief parliament secretary (health) Navjot Kaur Sidhu there. She appreciated his effort, he said.
In total, Jain will cover about 5,000 miles on the bicycle and would take another 50 days to reach Kanyakumari. He does not find his journey stressful or long, saying that he was being appreciated by one and all. "
But, my only high would be when the people and government are inspired from my campaign," he said.
Before pedalling for Chandigarh, he says, "I do understand that in India for most of us riding a bicycle is not a fashion statement. Butm if we want to solve traffic issues and other problems, we have to make it a fashion statement like many other European countries."