Subhankar Chakraborty/ HT photo
Subhankar Chakraborty/ HT photo

Bicycle tracks in Lucknow trigger political slugfest

Against construction of tracks has shrunk the existing roads: Rita Joshi. For the idea behind these lanes was to facilitate common man: Akhilesh
Hindustan Times, Lucknow | By HT Correspondent
PUBLISHED ON DEC 19, 2018 07:49 AM IST

Even as bicycle tracks in Lucknow remain least utilised by cyclists, the political slugfest over the construction of these dedicated lanes continues.

While state tourism minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi dubbed these lanes as “wastage of public money”, former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav came out strongly in support of bicycle tracks.

Joshi said all aspects should have been considered before making such tracks. “No one uses these cycling tracks. Construction of these lanes has shrunk the existing roads, leading to traffic snarls,” she said while participating in a session of ‘Progressive Conversations’ – a conference on heritage conservation in the state capital.

However Akhilesh Yadav, who was addressing another session during the same conference, said: “The idea behind constructing these lanes was that the common man riding a bicycle could reach his destination safely.”

“Some people think I constructed these lanes to popularise Samajwadi Party’s symbol (bicycle). It is high time people are sensitised about the utility of cycle tracks,” he added.

It was not for the first time when political parties attacked each other on the cycle track issue. Earlier, the BJP government had said that these lanes could be demolished, if found hampering smooth flow of traffic.

The previous Samajwadi Party dispensation had constructed more than 100-km cycle tracks in the state capital and another 250-km of such lanes across UP.

Rita Bahuguna Joshi said people are not aware about what they have been losing. “Heritage is being demolished and desecrated without knowing its importance,” she said. She also said conservation does not mean to clean the building, but to involve the community to restore its overall glory. She asserted that the government alone can’t work towards heritage conservation till people are not involved in it.

Earlier, former CM Akhilesh Yadav said political, bureaucratic and public participation is important for implementation of any plan. “One good officer makes a difference while an inefficient official makes things worse,” he said, claiming that several heritage conservation works were carried out during the SP government’s tenure.

Several experts deliberated upon heritage conservation and concluded that stakeholders’ participation is a must for heritage conservation. Ram Pratap Singh, founder trustee of Progressive Council, said that a working document on heritage conservation will be prepared, based on the deliberations made during the conference. Conservationist and lawyer Mohammad Haidar said citizens should remember their fundamental duties, which include protecting heritage buildings. He added that students should also be made a part ofheritage conservation movement.

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