Greenest city of India to promote ‘bike tourism’

January 25th, 2009 - 11:43 am ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Jan 25 (IANS) With a wide canopy of greenery, wide roads, specially built cycle-tracks adjacent to every road and a clear sun on a wintry afternoon these days, the union territory of Chandigarh is undoubtedly a suitable place for a joyful cycle ride.It is not only professional cyclists that can be seen on the roads but also tourists visiting the city, foreigners clearly outnumbering the domestic ones.

The Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) has done its best to promote ‘bike-tourism’ in a big way in the city this winter, and is planning to launch a widespread campaign to popularise cycling among the denizens of Chandigarh.

“I can bet that Chandigarh with its wide roads and specially earmarked cycle tracks is one of the most suitable places for cycling in the world. Many tourists, especially foreigners, who come here, prefer cycling as it is the most cost-effective and easier medium for travelling in this green city,” A.K. Malhotra, general manager of CITCO, told IANS.

“Our own city dwellers are somewhat shy about cycling as they are more concerned about maintaining their status. However, very soon we are going to start some campaigns to motivate people here to adopt the culture of cycling,” he said.

CITCO has put around 10 ultra-modern bicycles, fitted with gearboxes, at the Sukhna Lake, one of the major tourist destinations here. Anyone interested in cycling can take these bicycles on rent.

“Anyone who comes to Chandigarh rarely misses a trip to Sukhna Lake; that is why we have displayed our bicycles on a big stage there so that people can easily come to know about this option available here,” Malhotra said.

“Chandigarh is the paradise for cyclists as the entire cycle tracks here have shady trees. One can enjoy the real beauty of the city only through cycling on its roads. In fact, whenever I get time I also go for cycling,” Ishwar Singh, conservator of forests and chief wildlife warden of Chandigarh, told IANS.

“Chandigarh is the greenest city of India and cycling in such city is itself a luxury. Very soon, it will become the greenest city in entire Asia and our department is ready to impart any kind of help to the administration in popularizing the activity of cycling here,” he added.

Sigh said that the green cover of Chandigarh extends up to 50 square km out of its total geographical area of 140 square km, accounting for 35.7 percent. The second greenest city in India is New Delhi with a green cover of 19.78 per cent out of its total geographical area.

“I love Chandigarh roads, this masterpiece of great architect Le Corbusier can serve as a paradigm of one of the most well planned and well connected city for the outer world. I come here frequently and every time take a cycle on rent from CITCO,” said Jacques Kasprowitch, a French national, who is on his seventh visit to the city.

“Cycling is an eco-friendly option that also lessens the congestion on the city roads. In France, one can easily find leading businessmen and many Hollywood stars cycling their way to their destinations,” he added.

“Cycling is an economical option and it also maintains our health. Here we can take the cycles on rent by just paying Rs.50 for half day and Rs.100 for the full day. This is an innovative idea that I have not seen anywhere in the world,” Mark Botham, a British tourist who has taken two bicycles on rent from CITCO, told IANS Saturday.

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