The Ghaziabad version of ‘car free day’ will be a bit different from its immediate cousins – Delhi and Gurgaon. On car free days in Delhi, no cars ply on a predecided stretch and in Gurgaon, no ‘on-street’ parking for a day. However, on its first car free day on February 10, Ghaziabad citizens would be requested not to take their cars out on identified stretches, only for two hours. Cars will run or not depending on the discretion of the residents. No action, no ‘return back’s, no challans. Just Gandhigiri. Violators will be penalised with informative pamphlets and flowers. (Some of you can save them for the coming Valentine's, if they are red roses.)
RWA Federation has requested Ghaziabad denizens not to use cars between 10 am to 12 pm. Yeah, you got it right: it’s a car free ‘day’ just for two hours. “It’s purely a symbolic gesture. Since Ghaziabad Administration has failed to take such an initiative after several requests, we have taken this initiative on our own. Maybe, that will inspire the administration,” says Col TP Tyagi, Chairman,, RWA Federation of Ghaziabad.
The initiative is planned across five municipal zones of the city- Mohan Nagar, Vasundhara, Vijay Nagar, Ghaziabad city and Kavi Nagar. RWA representatives will stand on important intersections - Swarnjayanti park/CISF crossing (Indirapuram); Atal Chowk (Vasundhara); Main Chowk (Raj Nagar Extension); Chowdhary Morh (Ghaziabad City); Swadeshi Chowk (Vijay Nagar) and Mohan Nagar.
As per a Times of India report, Ghaziabad DM Vimal Kumar praised the concept of a car-free day but denied receiving any such information or formal representation from the federation. “This is a positive initiative for sure. However, the administration has not endorsed any such initiative in the city. The RWA can coordinate with administration or police if they want to undertake the initiative in a legal manner,” he said.
Col. Tyagi, Federation chairman, however, said that they have hand delivered letters to DM, SP Traffic and Pollution control board but have not heard from them.
This RWA initiative, is successful already: It has drawn the attention of administration towards the public transport shortage. It acknowledges that there is a dearth of public transport in Ghaziabad.
"We are taking the initiative in a positive stride. In consultation with police department, we will chalk out what all facilities are required and how we can facilitate," says Bhram Dev Singh Yadav, City Magistrate, Ghaziabad.
“We will support the initiative. But it needs roadways support and administrative cooperation to make it successful. Extra transport will be required to connect residents with the Metro,” says Amar Singh (SP Traffic).
How is our SP (Traffic) going to set an example? He laughed it off saying, “I would love to board the city bus on a car free day which unfortunately is not available.”
In short, he will be travelling in his blue beacon car on a car free day.
Residents are all in for the the initiative. However, lack of public transport leaves them helpless. "I drive one and a half hour every day, from Govindpuri to Shahdara (Delhi). Driving is a compulsion for me as there is no direct connectivity. If I travel by public- private combination, I have to board shared auto twice and then finally catch a DTC bus to reach Shahdara. My travel time would automatically increase to minimum 3 hours each side. I have no option but to drive on a car free day. I am open to car pool, though," says a resident of Govindpuri, Manjit Singh.
Other residents have no such problem. Rajesh Sharma, resident of Pratap Vihar (Vijay Nagar) will definitely follow the initiative. This local property dealer doesn't go out beyond Pratap Vihar, and has no problems giving up his car just for two hours.
-With inputs from Toshik Kardam