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Kolkata Police has banned Cycles and Non-motorized transport (Cycle, Cycle rickshaws, Bakery Vans, Handcarts etc) from 174 thoroughfares in Kolkata - virtually meaning a blanket ban to regulate traffic.

Such a ban is socially non-inclusive, inequitable and environmentally hazardous and is a suicide note for our beautiful city of joy. Thousands will be forced to convert to motorized transport and push to the brink the overstretched infrastructure of the City.

We have run from pillar to post, from the Transport Department to Kolkata Traffic Police to Kolkata Municipal Corporation and Environment Department, and written multiple letters to all concerned authorities. But no actions has been taken yet. Infact most of them said that they can't do anything about it!  

The Police Commissioner hasn't even responded despite our consistent efforts to meet him to find a solution.

Its time we stand up against this unjust ban and make sure our voices are heard. Hence we have started this petition to bring together the citizens of Kolkata and demand a revocation of this blanket ban.

Our movement has gotten support from Social Activist Medha Patkar and Nobel Laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan.

On 8th Sept '13 we organized a 'Cycle March' where over 500 cyclists marched the streets with their cycles.

On Gandhi Jayanti - we're organized A Creative, Non-violent Protest 'Bring the Wheels Back to the Streets'. Over 3000 people joined us along with Street Theatre Artists and Boul Fakirs in a never before creative protest done in Kolkata.

On 17 Dec we submitted a Deputation to Transport Minister Madan Mitra, who clarified that the Cycle ban was not ratified by his department, and hence had lapsed on July 29th. But Kolkata Police continued to charge based on lapsed notification.

Finally we have filed a PIL in Kolkata High Court against this injustice.

We need your support ever more.

Sign this petition and forward it to your friends. Every signature counts!

Letter to
Chief Minister of West Bengal Smt Mamata Banerjee
Commissioner of Police, Kolkata Surajit Kar Purkayastha
Sub: Request for Revoking Ban and providing solutions to Non Motorized Transport in Kolkata

Respected Madam,

Cycle Satyagraha is a civil society movement organized by Switch-ON & Ride 2 Breathe and supported by various civil society organizations & concerned citizen of Kolkata & India. The extended ban on non-motorized transport (Cycle, Cycle rickshaws, Bakery Vans, Handcarts etc) covering 174 thoroughfares in Kolkata - virtually meaning a blanket ban - has surprised and disturbed us.

We have tried to reach out to concerned authorities but have been unsuccessful and now seek your leadership in the matter. You have inspired Kolkata and won hearts with your motto of “Maa Maati Mansuh”. Cycle is a perfect manifestation of your slogan and vision - since Bicycles and non-motorized transport are socially inclusive, directly support livelihoods, inexpensive; take much less space, good for the environment and health, and least likely to cause jams and accidents.

Mayor of London calls cycling an integral part of the transport network and all government and international agencies have stressed that cycling and NMT infrastructure must be given priority. According to a report from EU – 73 % of Europeans think that bicycles should benefit from preferential treatment compared with cars, similarly a rapid survey done by CSE in Kolkata shows 60% respondents said cycles and NMT should be given space. Many cities in india are already taking a lead in building cycle lanes and infrastructure. Non Motorised Transport (NMT) is integral to Kolkata since it supports -

· Livelihood and Socially Inclusive – According to MoUD Trips by cycle in Kolkata (11 per cent) outnumber trips by cars (8 per cent). 25 Lakh cycle trips made by carpenters and masons, from the milk man and newspaper vendor to office clerks and courier delivery in kolkata everyday

· Urban Infrastructure- Kolkata speed of traffic varies between 14-18 km/ hour, a cycle can match this speed. Kolkata the third most populous metro in India has the least number of private cars and also the least amount of road space (6 per cent) and the dense inter – mediate transport networks is meant for Non motorized transport.

· Environment and Save Pollution - Kolkata is the most polluted metropolitan city in the country. WBPCB indicates that automobiles account for nearly 50 per cent of the air pollution load. UNEP points out that Transport sector is the second largest contributor to CO2 emissions in India.

· Health and Safety - Only 1.5 per cent of road accidents happen due to fault of cyclists against 71 per cent due to faults of motor vehicle (MOT, GOI) . Because of cities air pollution, Kolkata is the ‘lung cancer’ capital of the country and 70% city inhabitant suffer from respiratory diseases.

· Economy – Petrol price has risen by 16% in the last four months, while India imports on more than ¾ of its crude oil which is putting a lot of stress on the Economy.

Therefore, we request you revoke the ban and setup and head a Non-motorized cell in Kolkata, where local authorities can work with experts to find a holistic solution to kolkata’s development that focuses to provide safety to pedestrians and Non Motorised Transport through building of cycle tracks, and public cycle scheme and sharing systems.

We write to you with a lot of optimism, that you will take immediate action on the above matter. We pledge our cooperation to you in the setup of the NMT Cell. Thank you very much in advance.

Ekta Kothari started this petition with a single signature, and now has 11,890 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.