Dream of a way of commuting while maintaining social distancing and exercise and having a pollution-free city? Then the obvious answer is to shift to a healthy and pollution-free mode of transport and what better way than to cycle your way around the city and work.
Reports show that during the pandemic, the city's Air Quality Index has improved substantially and has given rise to many optimists who feel that one can make a difference to planet Earth by adopting a more healthy and cleaner lifestyle.
Of course, there is also fear that the city might go back to square one once the pandemic dies down. This is where the 'Bicycle Mayor' of Hyderabad comes in. Santhana Selvan has been working towards this cause for many years now.
His latest project, Project Diya, is to gift pre-loved bicycles to people who can use them as a daily mode of transport. Mostly Hyderabad has cyclists who take it up for fitness or livelihood cyclists like the milkmen or newspaper boys. Selvan wants to make sure that the city adopts cycling as a means of commuting
.Project Diya aims to make more and more people use bicycles as a mode of transport daily. Selvan and his team intend to collect unused bicycles, repair them if need be, and give them to people who resonate with their idea.
Project Diya collaborates with the cycling community Happy Hyderabad, which Selvan and Dinesh Sale founded. As a Bicycle Mayor, Selvan intends to make sure that 50% of every trip made in Hyderabad is by bicycle.
However, according to Dr. R Srinivasa Kumar, there is a gap between such aspirations and the government's policy, which is not particularly clear about developing infrastructure to facilitate such a lifestyle. While there are some cycling strips in Necklace Road, Jubilee Hills, and Hi-Tec city, the rest of the town, is not bicycle-friendly.
On the other hand, there is hope that since Hyderabad is not a large city, taking up cycling for short trips between homes and offices can be feasible if both the citizens and government work together.