Petition to save cyclists and walkers from hostile urban environment in Indian cities

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The President of India
New Delhi India

Union Minister for Urban Development
Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change

Hon. Shri Kovind,

Suraj Kumar was an ecological researcher, thinker and activist who influenced millions of people and ecological movements around the world with his deep and meticulous research over past ten years after working with leading technology companies - Yahoo and Amazon. He was a practising organic farmer, innovator, systems designer and Transcendental Meditation practitioner and one of the finest human beings I have known has left for the heavenly abode.

He died in a road accident after he was hit by a vehicle in Bengaluru while cycling on Tuesday 29th May 2018.

Like his name and living up to its meaning, he has already lighted up the minds and hearts of millions of people around the world with his thoughts and actions. An intrepid and fearless soul, he not only spoke his mind in the most articulate terms, he had a deep quality to introspect and reflect upon his thoughts and evolve and move forward.

Those millions of people and more whose lives he touched and the inspiration he leaves behind around the world will carry forward the legacy and also help and support his family members and more than fill up the vacuum in their lives by the loss of his physical presence.

Cyclists, early adopters and champions, who are braving a hostile environment to set an example for the society - young and old, men and women - are no different than soldiers braving a hostile enemy on the borders.

I shall call upon you for national recognition to cycling champions and early adopters who sacrifice their lives while cycling as martyrs so that rather than giving up cycling, more and more youth in India and around the world are inspired and motivated to do so and take pride in this healthy and ecologically responsible mode of transportation.

This will also send a stern and powerful message to the Car lobby of both manufacturers, bureaucrats, petty politicians and the car loving and addicted users that they should no longer sacrifice walkers and cyclists at the altars of naked comfort and sloth seeking greed.

Surya sacrificed his life for a great cause- he strongly believed and stood for environmental stewardship, pollution control, promoting a healthy lifestyle,by encouraging people to use bicycles instead of vehicles. Sadly, he became a victim of poor traffic management, and non-provision of a separate bicycle lane and/or public sidewalk, leaving no option for cyclists but to risk their life. We believe the loss of such a precious and revered life of activist must prompt an analysis of urban planning in such a way that vehicles are prohibited in crowded marketplaces and areas. The smart city planning model should include self-sufficient communities in which most of the amenities of daily use are available within the community itself (bicycle distance 5-10 km) such as shopping centre, school, clinic, sports complex, recreation centre, etc.

I shall also appeal to you to call for a National Prayer Meeting on Tuesday 5th June at 6pm to 7pm in Delhi which is also World Environment Day and to keep a ceremonial fast to express solidarity with all environment protectors, cyclists and farmers around the world.

Sincerely yours,
Chandra Vikash
B.Tech. IIT Kharagpur
MBA IIM Calcutta
Global Academy for Indigenous Activism (GAIA)
Program Director
Amritam Trust
B-79, Sector 71 Noida
Uttar Pradesh, India
M: +91 9582941382