The construction of graded tracks for cycles began in New Town. This is for the first time in Bengal when such a step has been taken.
This will reduce the number of road accidents as the cyclists will be using separate a separate lane. It may be mentioned that the state government is also encouraging cycling among students and as a part of the “Safe drive Save life” project, the cycles which the Chief Minister will distribute among the students of Class IX will have 10 reflectors so that they could be spotted at night.
The West Bengal Housing and Infrastructure Development Corporation (WBHIDCO) floated tenders and subsequently selected the firm that was entrusted with the job.
The cycle track will be constructed in Action Area II and close to Prakriti Tirtha known as Eco Park. There will be a concrete basement along with black surfacing. There will be green verge and footpath. Slowly, tracks will be constructed in other parts of New Town. WBHIDCO proposes to introduce cycle on hire scheme where a person will be able to hire a cycle kept at some points. The cycle will be fitted with GPS. Then after completing his assignments which may be visiting offices or houses, the person will deposit the cycle after paying the requisite charges. This project is a part of the green city. This will not only reduce the level of air pollution but popularise a project which is quite popular in the West. If things go as per planning, the scheme will be introduced sometime in the next year.
Meanwhile, New Town is coming up as a major cycling destination. There is a facility to cycle at Prakriti Tirtha. Besides, every Sunday 20/30 youth coming from different walks of life take part in long distance cycling which has become very popular among IT professionals in Hyderabad and Bangalore.
The weekly show is organised by Nishant Maheshwari of Discover of Wheels. Cycling keeps a person fit and as most of the professionals across age lead a sedentary life, cycling helps them to keep fit and alert, he said. Now the cyclists go to Basanti Expressway or Kalyani Expressway on Sundays.
Discover on Wheels organises Brevets every year where a cyclist has to cover a certain distance within a stipulated time like 200km, 300km, 400km and 600km. This has become quite popular. From January 1, 2017 long distance cycling will start from Taj Gateway.
Congratulating HIDCO authorities, Maheshwari said if graded paths were constructed, then more and more people would be encouraged to do cycling.
Costly bicycles like Giant, Scott and Track are now available in the city and the craze among youngsters to do cycling is going up in Kolkata.