Thousands of people hit the streets on Wednesday to protest against the Kolkata Police ban on cycling and non-motorised transport in 174 thoroughfares of the metropolis. Cyclists, rickshaw-pullers, milkmen and newspaper vendors came up with posters, street theatres and folk music on Chowringhee Square showing how non-motorised transport is the most inclusive, sustainable and eco-friendly mode of transport.
The ban impacts the poorest class whose livelihood depends on their ability to commute on non-motorised transport like cycles, cycle vans, handcarts, pull-carts, bakery vans.
“If cycles and non-motorised transport were to stop plying on the streets, the city will stop functioning as all the necessities in the city is transported through them. Milk, newspapers, medicines, courier and postage, amongst other things are delivered on cycles,” said the protesters, who have launched a movement called ‘Chakra Satyagraha’.
Raj Kapoor Tiwari and Shambhu Nath Tiwari representing the Akhbar Bikreta Samity (Newspaper seller’s forum) said cyclists and non-motorised transport vendors hardly make an income of Rs. 100 from hard labour, which is charged as fine by the police each time they are caught on the streets.