Bicycles, which were a popular and perhaps the only mode of transport available to a lot of people some decades ago, are back in fashion now in Kashmir. Hugely popular in Holland, Australia and a lot of other countries even in 21st century countries which have switched to cycling as a means of going to office, to buy groceries and small travel have achieved tremendous progress in curbing pollution through vehicular traffic. These countries also see lesser traffic jams.
In Kashmir a lot of people bought their private vehicles. Even though buying private vehicles can never be seen as a direct indicator of economic prosperity but certainly the increase in vehicular pollution can be attributed to it. The constant honking of vehicles jostling for space, trying to inch pass each other in a bumper to bumper traffic jam is a frequent sight in Srinagar now. Just three decades back, one could not even imagine that one day Kashmir will see so many vehicles that there would be traffic jams on major thoroughfares on all times of the day.
It is imperative that either we create more boulevards, thoroughfares, get a metro, improve river transportation or switch to an alternate mode of transport. Talking of an alternate mode of transport bicycles come to mind instantaneously. The southern Indian city of Bengaluru some IT offices made Friday a cycling day for all the employees which means that on Fridays everyone was supposed to reach office on Bicycle.
We can adopt a similar model in Kashmir-We can designate Saturdays as bicycle days. It would lessen traffic jams on roads, decrease air pollution and at the same time improve the quality of health of citizens.
Bicycle is a one time investment but its benefits last a long time. A healthier population always generates more revenue for the state. We hope the administration thinks over this suggestion. It has already adopted by a lot of states across the world and we should also benefit from using bicycles as a daily means of communication.