COVID-19 foretells cycling boom in India

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A volunteer distributes free masks to Indians in New Delhi. As part of fundamental and lasting changes in social behavior being ushered in by the coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic, 107 cities in India are to have pop-up cycle lanes, traffic-calmed sections and non-motorized zones.
A volunteer distributes free masks to Indians in New Delhi. As part of fundamental and lasting changes in social behavior being ushered in by the coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic, 107 cities in India are to have pop-up cycle lanes, traffic-calmed sections and non-motorized zones.

NEW DELHI — As part of fundamental and lasting changes in social behavior being ushered in by the coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic, 107 cities in India are to have pop-up cycle lanes, traffic-calmed sections and non-motorized zones.

"Cities could launch programs such as community-led cycle rental schemes that increase the availability of cycles to citizens and promote the usage of cycling through public events and outreach," the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs here informed the Lower House of Parliament, the Lok Sabha, Tuesday.

The statement by the Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri, was part of an "India Cycles-4-Change Challenge" launched by the Ministry, which is open to cities with a population above half a million.

The Ministry is encouraging all the 107 cities which have registered for the Challenge to "undertake pilot projects, citizen surveys and hold capacity building workshops related to the project," Puri said.

Kolkata and New Town Kolkata top the list with participating projects among the 107 cities followed by Dehradun and Varanasi.

The Emirates News Agency, WAM, had reported in June that another fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic was that India is creating pedestrian-only market places like many old towns across Europe.

Also an initiative by India's Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, this will reduce vehicular traffic, congestion and air pollution, contributing to a healthier lifestyle to ward off threats from pandemics and respiratory or other related ailments. — WAM


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