IIT IS now the councillors’ turn to come to the Municipal Corporation office on cycle. For, Chandigarh Mayor Davesh Moudgil has decided to ask all of them to come to House meetings on cycle and use only cycles on Wednesdays to come to the corporation on work.
MC Commissioner Jitender Yadav has made it mandatory for employees to come to office on cycle every Wednesday only allowing those living at far-off places to use public transport. The mayor told Chandigarh Newsline, “Tomorrow, I will issue a letter requesting them to cycle their way to the MC office if they are visiting on Wednesdays and also for House meetings as well. House meetings are held once a month and they stay at the office from morning to evening. So, it should not be a problem. We, as public representatives, must be the first ones to initiate this.”
Most councillors, on the other hand, said it was not a practical decision at all, not only for them but for the employees as well. “It should not be made mandatory for employees either. It should be optional. Now, I cannot ride a cycle at all. Let this come from within and not be enforced on the employees,” said BJP Councillor and former mayor Asha Jaswal.
BJP Councillor Arun Sood said, “The first thing I would like to ask is where is the infrastructure. Have they seen the width of cycle tracks, have they seen how these tracks have been encroached. Is the city cycle friendly? People don’t even stop seeing a cyclist or a pedestrian the way it is abroad and they are asking everybody to come on cycle. It is a decision made in haste just for the sake of publicity. Cycling is good for health, but first, you should provide facilities,” he argued. Sood further stated that riding cycle was not even safe for women. “At one point, it is being admitted that the city is not safe for cyclists. And, on the other, you are asking everybody to come on cycle. What is the hurry to implement such a decision that you are asking employees to buy cycles in one day,” he added.
BJP Councillor Shakti Devshali said for the councillors, it would be difficult on Wednesdays as they have to come along with people and also carry files. “Where will people, accompanying me, sit if I come on cycle? Also, how do I carry my documents? And sometimes, after meeting officials at MC, you have to go to the DC’s office or the chief architect’s office. It is not feasible that way,” he said.
Devshali added that there has to be awareness campaigns first to change the mindset of commuters before enforcing such a decision. “Aisa thopa nahi jana chahiye…. If I talk about employees, too, making such a decision is not viable in such conditions where cycle tracks open on roundabouts and there is heavy traffic. Educate people first to adopt a soft approach towards cyclists.”
Congress Councillor Devinder Singh Babla said there was a huge difference between the culture abroad and here. “So many development works are pending and the mayor is thinking about cycles. Did he not see how employees parked their two-wheelers at a distance and walked to office, which means that the purpose is defeated. Before taking such decisions, they must know that there is a lot of difference in the culture here and abroad,” said Babla, adding that even otherwise he doesn’t have any cycle.