2 years on, Raahgiri Day is back in Delhi

After a gap of over two years, Raahgiri Day—an initiative to reclaim the city’s streets from vehicles and promote pedestrian and sustainable mobility options—is back in the capital.

Starting May 26, the event will be held in the inner circle of Connaught Place last Sunday of every month. The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), along with The Raahgiri Foundation and Delhi Police, has revived the event, which was first held on July 13, 2014 in Connaught Place, to promote options such as walking and cycling in the city.

What started as local event in Gurugram in November 2013, is today held in over 70 cities.

As air pollution becomes a growing concern in Delhi, said to be the most polluted capital in the world and ranked 11th among the most polluted cities, the main focus of Raahgiri Day would be on “impact of air pollution health”.

“This event becomes even more important now as we know how Delhi’s air quality is deteriorating and the impact it has on people’s lives. We need to push for better pedestrian infrastructure. We are reviving the event on May 26, World Cancer Day, as cancer is the one of the main diseases due to air pollution,” said Sarika Panda Bhatt, co-founder of Raahgiri Day and associate director of Nagarro.

The inner circle will be closed for vehicles from 6am to 9am on Sunday and will be thrown open to people who can participate in a variety of activities ranging from Zumba, cycling and other sports.

Sustainable transport experts and NDMC officials said the event helped in creating awareness among people and government agencies about the need for pedestrian and cyclist-friendly infrastructure to push for sustainable transport.

NDMC chairman Naresh Kumar said, “It was a good event that brought people of different parts of the city together and gainfully engage in different activities. Connaught Place is a central place and is visited by thousands of people every day. We plan to start it other NDMC areas. The event has helped us create awareness about the need for sustainable mobility.”

Priyanka Sukhlan, manager sustainable transport and cities with WRI India, said Raahgiri Day has played a major role in changing people’s perception about walking and cycling. “Now it is the people who are demanding pedestrian-friendly infrastructure and government agencies can understand the demand as they have seen they kind of people’s participation in such events.”

First Published:
May 23, 2019 03:55 IST

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