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Fund crunch, dwindling interest bring an end to Ggn's Raahgiri

Fund crunch, dwindling interest bring an end to Ggns Raahgiri
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GURUGRAM: Considered to be a unique initiative to create a society that is less dependent on its cars, the 'Raahgiri' initiative had gained immense popularity among residents of Gurugram.
Lack of funds, however, means that curtains will be brought down on this initiative, that too in the city from where it originated.
Sunday was the last Raahgiri event organised in the city. Ironically, even as the concept found takers in several urban cities of the country, the interest of residents of Gurugram – high usage of vehicles is a major cause of air pollution – in taking active part in Raahgiri was seen to be diminishing over the years.
Started in 2013, under the Raahgiri concept, no cars were allowed for one to two hours every Sunday along the streets near DLF Galleria.
The concept was well received by residents and even 100 cycles were donated by the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram for the initiative.
In a city where interaction among residents is low, the 'Raahgiri' initiative – held every Sunday – acted as a forum to bring people together.
Besides using the forum for physical fitness, participants also indulged in other forms of entertainment activities.
People of all age groups used to participate each Sunday, and corporate bodies also began sponsoring events.
Taking cue from its smaller neighbour, even the national capital Delhi organised Raahgiri in Rajiv Chowk two years ago.
Over time, however, loss of interest among participants, shortage of sponsors and lack of assistance by public authorities have led to the demise of this unique initiative.
"It is sad that we are closing down this wonderful initiative because we do not have the funds to support it. All private sponsors have withdrawn their support. There has also not been any help from the public authorities," said Sarika Panda, one of the event's organisers.
"In its heyday, there used to be a crown of 40,000 people who used to come to Raahgiri. We could have used this opportunity to expand it further. But, in the end, lack of effective action resulted in loss of interest," she added.
Organisers now plan to bring up the issue with the district administration, so that Raahgiri can be revived.
"Cyclovia in Bogota (Colombia) has been there for the last 42 yrs, with 130 kilometres of cycling by 1.3 million people every Sunday. The public agency is fully involved, that's the difference," commented Amit Bhatt on social media.

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