Stating that “life is becoming hell” in metropolitans due to private vehicles, Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu has urged every city to shift focus to non-motorised modes of transport like cycling. “Adding vehicles is becoming a major problem. There are one crore vehicles in Delhi; Mumbai will not be lagging behind. Life is becoming hell,” he told reporters here yesterday while speaking at an event. “Focus should be on non-motorised transport. I want every city to have cycle tracks,” the minister said, adding that he was amazed to see over a third of the population in Berlin, across economic strata, commuting by bicycle.
Naidu said there is a change in our lifestyles wherein things are becoming more sedentary and less physical, and cycling will help keep us, fitter, as well. “Our lifestyles have changed and we do not do physical work anymore. Physically there is no activity at all,” he said. “There has to be a cycle track in every city. It is mandatory especially for the cities which are expanding,” he said, adding pedestrian paths are also necessary.
Naidu further ruled that we have “successfully” destroyed forest cover in our cities over the last few years and wondered when and how would we be able to recover. Because of such concerns, Naidu said his ministry has decided to launch a livable index for cities, which will assess the city based on its water supply, sanitation, electricity, public transport and non-motorised transport.