17th Dec, 2017
THANE : Nearly four months after its inauguration, the much-hyped bicycle-sharing facility is yet to take off as the municipal corporation has reportedly failed to provide basic infrastructure to make the initiative fully operational.
The TMC is nowhere close to its commitment to develop cycle depots at various locations across the city to make it operational. With no signs of making it fully operational soon, the administration has now removed the first batch of cycles lying at three depots along the Eastern Express Highway service road. Activists and residents have now blamed the callous approach of the administration in handling the project that initially had earned several laurels for the city and the corporation.
It is learnt that the administration is yet to construct cycle depots at several locations for various reasons, including land acquisition and permissions from gas or telephone utilities. In some parts of the city, the depot development has also run into rough waters as getting approvals from various civic departments is getting difficult as the project reportedly overlapped with other proposed municipal initiatives like gardens and model roads.
The facility was launched by Yuva Sena president Aditya Thackeray in August this year amid much fanfare and was suppose to operate from nearly 50 locations in the city. Nearly 500 unisex cycles were on offer on rent at reasonable rates. The facility already has nearly 1,200 people subscribing for it. This could be a good way to reduce pollution and traffic.
The project was flagged off in private partnership where the corporation will not make any investment except for providing space for the depots. The initiative will be operated by the designated contractor for the first 10 years, after which its operations will be transferred to the corporation.
However, the delay has upset the patrons. "We were hoping that the facility would be made operational soon and were looking at registering ourselves for it. It has been more than three months now but no action has been taken yet and the cycles have also been moved away from the stands. The winter season was a good way to cycle around the city," said Ashish Varma, a resident of Ghodbunder Road.
Transport and civic activist Satyajit Shah, who had initially lauded the initiative, said that the administration has disappointed the residents and patrons. "It is shameful that such a wonderful project that was started by the corporation, which is aspiring for a smart makeover, cannot be made operational even four months after its inaugurated," said activist Satyajit Shah.
Meanwhile, TMC has assured to look into the issue and the project will begin by month end. "The project has been delayed for various reasons. We have had to remove the first batch of cycles from depots and are in the process of constructing more bays at various locations. We hope to make the facility operational by month end," said deputy municipal commissioner Sandeep Malvi.
Source : timesofindia.indiatimes.com