Fazilka, first to have a ”Car-free city” concept in India

December 1st, 2008 - 8:37 pm ICT by ANI  

Chandigarh, Dec.1 (ANI): Fazilka, a small township near the India-Pakistan border, in Punjab has become the first ever place in the country to implement a unique concept of creating a Car Free City in the region.
As part of the Car Free City concept, the City centre –market area nearby clock tower– has been declared a “Car Free Zone”. Motorised four-wheeled vehicles and heavy vehicles have been prohibited to move in this zone for 12 hours during the day time.
Traffic calming devices and permanent barriers at few locations have been installed to make this zone pedestrian and cycle-friendly.
The Car Free City concept, in Fazilka may act as an inspiration for rest of the country. The credit for this special concept goes to newly elected President of the Municipal Council of Fazilka, Anil Sethi.
Fazilka residents are already undertaking many activities to promote non-motorised transport within the city.
The 21st century is governed with the agenda to pacify the affect of Global Warming and I am sure Fazilka town is going to be the flag bearer for the cause of suppressing effect of Global Warming through energy conservation and transportation. 77-80 per cent of the air pollution is contributed by transportation sector alone, said Sethi.
Last year, during week-long “Fazilka Heritage Festival” this experiment, as a part of case study was demonstrated by Graduates Welfare Association Fazilka (GWAF) by keeping the citys central zone a car free zone.
The study revealed that, the experiment had not just improved the quality of social life but also improved the law and order and environment through less air pollution emitted, economy and road safety of the residents. As a part of study and analysis random sampling was done under randomized controlled conditions.
Communities that are Non-motorised vehicle-friendly are seen as places with a high quality of life in the society.
Non-motorised vehicle-friendly communities are places where people feel safe and comfortable riding their cycles and walking for fun, fitness, and transportation.
Encouraging NMV is a simple way towards improving public health. With more people joining NMV, communities experience reduced traffic demands, improved air quality and greater physical fitness.
In addition, NMV-friendly towns are often seen as most safe place to live.
“The aim to create car-free zone and also to promote NMV mode of transport within city to build bridges between the prosperous sections of society in the city and the less well-off, said Sethi.
He is already taking strong action against a decision to build roads over bridges within city limits. No European and American city has built a flyover within their city for last 15-20 years.
Eco-cab (Dial-a Rickshaw) is another successfully implemented concept, in which cycle rickshaw have been introduced using the latest intelligent transport tools.
From next year, the Graduates Welfare Association of Fazilka (GWAF) is all set to send the nomination of Fazilka Mayor for the award of “Worlds Best Mayor, as the people of Fazilka have already done what famous mayors like Enrique Penalosa, mayor of Bogota, Colombia, Elmar Ledergerber, Zurich, Switzerland and much appreciated Lee Myung-bak, (now President) who initiated the project to remove elevated highway/flyovers and restore the Cheonggyecheon water stream under an urban renewal and beautification scheme. (ANI)

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