Cars crowd Panjab University campus ignoring ‘no vehicle’ campaign

November 5th, 2008 - 1:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Nov 5 (IANS) It is over a year since Panjab University (PU) launched its ‘no-vehicle day’ on the first Monday of every month campaign, but the hundreds of cars clogging the campus parking area and roads are evidence that it has not been taken seriously.Now a professor, the main crusader behind the environment-friendly move, has decided to undertake an “environmental repentance” to stir up faculty and students to the cause.

Arun Deep Ahluwalia, a professor and chairman of the department of geology at PU, has decided to hold his unique protest on Monday outside Gandhi Bhawan on the university campus.

“I shall undertake a one-hour environmental repentance and hold an environment slide show on my laptop for all our environmental sinners. These poor folks do not know they are not just showing apathy and contempt to a sacred sentiment for environment but ruining their own next generations’ future on this planet besides missing out on a pleasant and healthy walk,” Ahluwalia told IANS here.

Sounding critical of university officials, some fellow faculty members and students for not paying heed to skipping their vehicles even for one day in a month, Ahluwalia said there was “no need for any hypocrisy”.

“The environment cannot be saved through mere syndicate resolutions alone (taken by the PU). Top university officials have to lead by example but that is not happening. I am quite disappointed that I have not been able to sensitize them but will continue the crusade,” he said.

The professor alleged that certain university officials took away the free bicycles gifted to them when the ‘no-vehicle day’ campaign was launched in June last year.

“Over 15 cycles were gifted to some officials, but they continue to use their cars,” he alleged.

Parking areas and most roads on the 550-acre campus are choc-a-bloc with scores of cars - meaning no one had taken the ‘no-vehicle’ campaign on the campus seriously. Around 3,000 cars ply inside the university area every day. The university, located in Sector 14, has 10,000 students and about 600 faculty.

The ‘no-vehicle’ move was conceived on the lines of Cambridge and Oxford universities where the faculty, students and others cycle their way on the campus.

“People should understand the environment aspect of this campaign. Walking or cycling should be adopted by people who come from within the campus or nearby areas. This can be easily done in the winter months,” said post-graduation student Jaspreet.

Cycle stands on the campus, which used to be full till two decades ago, have been converted into canteens of various teaching departments.

Ahluwalia regretted that the university has failed to procure 150-200 bicycles to be kept at the gates of the campus so that visitors could park their vehicles and pedal ahead.

“Are’nt we willing to emulate IT major Infosys-Bangalore and keep cycles all over the campus so that anyone can freely commute on these?” Ahluwalia said.

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