Patkar writes to Mamata to revoke ban on cycling

All India Democratic Youth OrganisationMembers of All India Democratic Youth Organisation protest the ban on cycling in Kolkata, Wednesday.

Social activist Medha Patkar appealed to Mamata Banerjee to revoke the blanket ban on cycling in Kolkata, saying this will work against the poor and working class who are dependent on the "inexpensive" mode of transport for their living.

In a letter to Mamata, Patkar said she was stunned to know Kolkata Traffic Police recently passed an order banning cycles, hand carts, pull carts, tri-cycles and other forms of non-motorised transport off roads from 174 major and minor streets in the metropolis.

Demanding the ban be revoked, Patkar said it was an "anti-poor and anti-working class step".

"The order is not only in violation of the National Urban Transport policy of 2006 that encourages non-motorised forms of transport, but also an assault on the livelihood of working class people", she wrote.

"Cycles are a perfect manifestation of your party's slogan and vision ó since bicycles and non-motorised transport are socially inclusive, inexpensive; good for the environment and health, and least likely to cause jams and accidents," she said.

Patkar said authorities must work with experts to find a holistic solution to Kolkata's traffic woes that focuses on providing safety to pedestrians and non-motorised transport through building cycle tracks, public cycle scheme and integrate that with other forms of public transport.

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