The City Corporation’s proposal to lay designated cycling tracks and introduce public bicycle sharing system as part of the Smart City Project is yet to take off though allocation was made for these purposes in the 2018 budget.
The civic body envisioned a Non-Motorised Transport System, promoting cycling and walking, with the idea that use of motorised vehicles could be confined to long distances. “The plan had to be put on hold due to Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and because a lot of our officials are put on election duty too. We will initiate work on the proposal soon,” said P. Sivapatham, Executive Engineer, Tiruchi city corporation. A feasibility report is in the works, and the contract will be awarded soon, he said.
The project, was, in fact, discussed in 2015, when the civic body had declared that about 2,000 bicycles will be brought for public use and 28 kilometres of cycling tracks would be laid at a cost of ₹150 crore. “Every year they keep aside a budget for it but nothing is being done. They make some excuses or the other and the plan never takes off. MCC will not hinder regular civic work. Citing it as an excuse for all work is wrong,” said M. Sekaran, president, Federation of Consumer and Service Organisations.
Cyclists in the city too, seem to have given up hope. “It has been at least 4-5 years since the actual plan was announced. We have been hoping for tracks since then. In cities like Chennai and Bangalore, the tracks came up but are now being used as parking spaces. It looks like the corporation does not pay much heed to cyclists,” said K. Sathish, owner of Ramsun On Wheels, a cycling rental.
The existing cycling tracks around Anna Stadium in Race Course Road, the only area within city limits to boast of one, are in a dilapidated state. “Within a year of its commissioning, the track began to cave in at some places. It just shows the inferior quality of work. In some places, electric poles are erected in the middle of the track. The planning and execution is of deplorable quality compromising the safety of riders,” Mr. Sathish said.
(source : The Hindu)