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In Quest For An Answer To Traffic Snarls, Good Health And Pollution Control… The Humble ‘˜Cycle’ Set To Make A Grand Comeback

IMPHAL, Jan 23: Once considered to be a status symbol as well as an indispensable item in Manipur, the humble Cycle today has come to be regarded as the poor man’s conveyance. Along with that, Cycle is losing its space day by day with earlier cycle sheds in cinema houses turning into shopping malls and those in schools and colleges fast disappearing.

To change this misconception of looking upon the Cycle as the poor man’s vehicle and to promote its use among the people once again with the message ‘˜Cycle for life’, Manipur Cycle Club, a first of its kind in the State, has been launched formally during a meeting of the environmentally and health conscious citizens at the hall of Maharaja Budhachandra College, Palace Compound today.

At the occasion, Padmashree RK Jhalajit, a living icon identified with the Cycle, was also felicitated with a shawl.

Commencing the meeting, peace campaigner Deben Sharma presented a factsheet on use of cycle in Manipur.

According to the factsheet, based on a quick field survey, use of Cycle in Manipur started sometime in 1926. At that time, Cycle was considered a status symbol and used mainly by those in power and position like Durbar members and for essential services by policemen, postmen, etc. But gradually car started replacing the good old Cycle as status symbol and policemen took to motor bikes, relegating use of Cycles to the common people. As a consequence, Cycle is losing its space and elbowed out from the roads day by day by other engined vehicles, whose number are increasing rapidly, apart from polluting the air we breathe and the environment around us.

Of the estimated 25 lakh people in Manipur, there are 1, 98,889 registered motor vehicles by the end of 2010. With 30 to 40 applications being received for registration of vehicles by the State Transport Department every working day, an estimated 10500 more vehicles are expected to be on the roads of Manipur in 2011.

The factsheet further pointed out that 4 to 5 cycle shops in Paona Bazar of Khwairamband Bazar changed trade over the last decade and 11 cycle shops in the entire Bazar make hardly one sale of adult cycle per day though sale record of small and sporty cycles of children is 2 to 3 per day.

On the possibility of cycle taking its space again on the roads of Manipur, Deben Sharma pointed out that many European countries are today consciously promoting use of cycle by office goers and workers to protect the environment and the health of the people.

Addressing the meeting, Padmashree RK Jhalajit endorsed the cause for promotion of cycle use and lamented lack of space for cycle on the roads of Manipur today.

Himself a regular cycle user, Jhalajit said that he has been routinely cycling to Manipur University for the last many years but it has been now increasingly difficult ride on account of dumping of sand, firewoods, etc along the road sides which normally used to be for the cyclists.

Use of cycle is good for health and the environment, the 87-year old scholar added.

In the brainstorming session that followed the meeting, the participants highlighted the needs for awareness programs and designating a day for observance to promote cycle use among other strategies that the Club should initiate.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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