Millions of poor and working class people in Kolkata are dependent on these forms of transport for earning an honest living and also commute within the city.
“Cycles are a perfect manifestation of your party's slogan and vision - since Bicycles and non-motorized transport are socially inclusive, directly support livelihoods, inexpensive; take much less space, good for the environment and health, and least likely to cause jams and accidents”, they added.
In this regard they submitted few facts and figures seeking the CM's attetnion:
· Data of the Union Ministry of Urban Development shows people in Kolkata make nearly 2.5 million cycle trips a day, second only to Delhi.
· Kolkata is the only metropolitan city in India where trips by cycle (11 per cent) outnumber trips by cars (8 per cent).
· Traffic accident data for West Bengal (2011) shows only 1.5 per cent of road accidents happen due to fault of cyclists against 71 per cent due to faults of motor vehicle drivers
· Kolkata has the lowest number of private cars and the least amount of road space (6 per cent) among metro cities. Even smaller cities like Gwalior have more registered motor vehicles than Kolkata. Cycling is practical and popular with the masses.
· Cycles do not slow down vehicular traffic. Average speed of traffic in Kolkata varies between 14-18 km/ hour. The national average is 22 km/hour
· With a population of over 14 million, urban agglomeration of Kolkata is among the most densely populated in the country. At least 7,750 people live in one sq km area. Cycling is a practical mode of transport in such areas
NAPM leaders, including Medha Patkar, Prafulla Samantara, Dr Sunilam, Gautam Bandopadhyay and others said they were aware that these notifications have been passed on the orders of the High Court. But, they said they feel Mamata Benerjee’s government must deal with this legally, rather than taking this anti poor and anti-working class step.
They urged her to revoke this ban and demand that adequate authorities on lines of other Metro cities to be set up to take where local authorities can work with experts to find a holistic solution to Kolkata’s traffic congestion problems that focuses to provide safety to pedestrians and Non-Motorised Transport through building of cycle tracks, public cycle scheme and integrate that with other forms of public transport.