Cows, squatters take over Akhilesh Yadav’s Rs 300-crore pet project

Earlier this week, the Yogi Adityanath government announced that these tracks would soon be removed, triggering a sharp response from former CM Akhilesh Yadav, who warned that the move would spark outrage.

Written by Maulshree Seth | Lucknow | Published:July 7, 2017 2:52 am
demolish cycle tracks, cycle track akhilesh yadav, yogi adityanath cycle track, adityanath akilesh yadav, indian express, india news, latest news A stretch of the cycle tracks in Lucknow. Vishal Srivastav

Mohammad Tassavar Khan and Vijay Kumar Srivastava, both middle-aged construction contractors, cycle to work every day. Riding for around 3 km, they choose to brave chock-a-block traffic on the main road while passing through the posh Gomti Nagar locality instead of using a brand new cycle track painted red, yellow and green with glowing signages, on which the previous SP government had spent crores.

Asked why they don’t use the track, Khan says, “Free nahi hai (It’s not free),” pointing at a row of cows lazing on the track, next to a few haphazardly parked bikes.

“The track has been built between two roads. They are accident-prone at certain cuts, where speeding vehicles can hit us. So we prefer to ride on the other side of the road,” says Khan, a resident of Gomti Nagar extension.

A few kilometres away, in Patrakarpuram, which houses the main market of Gomti Nagar, the cycle track is occupied by street vendors, repairing locks, stitching bags or selling plastic sheets. One stretch of the track is occupied by a repair shop for two-wheelers.

“The track was not being used anyway, so we are using it temporarily,” says a vendor.

Earlier this week, the Yogi Adityanath government announced that these tracks would soon be removed, triggering a sharp response from former CM Akhilesh Yadav, who warned that the move would spark outrage.

The tracks were one of Akhilesh’s pet projects, born out an idea that struck him during a visit to Netherlands in 2014. Just two months after his visit, the first government order in this regard was issued by then chief secretary Alok Ranjan to all district magistrates, commissioners and heads of development authorities, directing them to plan cycleways, cycle parking areas and a proper traffic system for cyclists as per the “recommended practice for the design and layout of cycle tracks” laid down by Indian Road Congress. Later, officers of PWD, which was made nodal agency for the task, visited countries like Netherlands and Germany for ideas to make the then CM’s dream a reality.

In just two years, (2014-end to 2016-end), Rs 300 crore was spent on developing cycle tracks. The tracks were developed by three agencies — PWD, Lucknow Development Authority and the Housing Development Board, along with respective development authorities in cities like Ghaziabad, Noida, Meerut, Bareilly and Allahabad.

The first set of tracks was constructed around the CM’s residence in Kalidas Marg and the SP party office in Vikramaditya Marg.

While Urban Development Minister Suresh Khanna had recently claimed that these tracks would soon be removed as they were leading to “traffic congestion”, officers on ground said they are yet to receive any such order.

“We have not received any orders regarding demolition of tracks. We would take steps once we receive the orders,” said VK Singh, engineer-in-chief, PWD. “At least the tracks built by PWD were constructed as per the code of Indian Road Congress. We do not know about those constructed by development authorities.”

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  1. A
    Jul 8, 2017 at 7:25 pm instead of removing cows, whole of multi crore cycle tracks will be removed. Cows are very common on highways in MP, I just hope that Shivraj ji doesn't start following Yogi's destructive ideas.
    1. D
      Damodar Biswal
      Jul 7, 2017 at 12:42 pm
      Govt. should not be vindictive.Make a thorough study before acting on them.Any step taken by the Govt. must be for the betterment of the people.
      1. V
        Valentin C
        Jul 7, 2017 at 11:58 am
        Don't undo the work of your predecessor just out of spite. If these tracks are causing traffic congestion, their width can be reduced instead of removing them completely.
        1. S
          suresh pandey
          Jul 7, 2017 at 11:06 am
          Such cycle tracks are very common in European countries but without any presence of cows. It would be a folly to remove them. Cows should be removed from such tracks and cyclists should be encouraged to use these tracks for their own safety and also for allowing smooth passage for vehicles on roads. Any motor vehicle overstepping on these strips should be heavily fined or seized. With time people would adapt themselves with these traffic system.
          1. Y
            yash sehgal
            Jul 7, 2017 at 9:01 am
            Jab tak jungle raj rahega, Lullu ghotalebaaj rahega...the credit for jungle raaj goes to... Great people of Great Bihar
            1. Y
              yash sehgal
              Jul 7, 2017 at 9:06 am
              Sorry Great every Lullu , i mean a man without certificate or degree can rise to great height provided he has a crooked it BSP, SP, BJP or CONgress but ultimately people will suffer for voting their caste n not merit..
            2. C
              Chattur Chamar
              Jul 7, 2017 at 7:28 am
              Swach bharat ki tarah ki scheme hai... magar problem yeh hai ki India ke haramkhor cycle Nahi mootne bhi jahaz se Jana cahte hain.... bhangaristan ka kuch Nahi ho sakta Jahil logon ka jahil CM Cycle lane Nahi Gau(cow) lane banwado .... mata ka bhala ho jayega
              1. M
                Mo-Ham-Head Ayyashuddin
                Jul 7, 2017 at 7:12 am
                Abaeyy akall less Paad aaoo Netherlands maeyy tohh soft drugs like weed, marijuana aurr pros ution bhii legal haii. Yeah kaamm agaar tuu U.P maeyy bhii karr detaa tohh U.P. kaeyy lunghadoo ko apnii tharrak mittaney kaa maukaa mill jaataa aurr U.P kii taxes kaeyy through bhadiyaa kamaii ho jaatii. Yeah cycle track bannaa hogaa 30 Crore maeyy aurr tunnaey sarkarii account maeyy costing daall dii 300 Crore. Yeahh haii salleyy India kaeyy haraamkhor farjii socialist. Modi ko tujjhaey aurr teraeyy sarrey paadd aaoo khandaan ko jail maeyy dall denaa chahiyee aurr tumharii sarii properties seize karr laneii chahiyee.
                1. T
                  Jul 7, 2017 at 6:44 am
                  Shame on Yogi and his Gaurakshaks for not protecting their mother-cows !!!
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