BHUBANESWAR: Though the sixth edition of Raahgiri Day went off incident-free on Janpath on Sunday morning, trespassing of the non-cycling zone by unidentified youths became a cause of concern for pedestrians, especially children and the elderly.
The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), during the fifth Raahgiri Day, had segregated the event into two halves on either sides of the Janpath. While the route from Station square to Ram Mandir square had been earmarked specifically for bicycle riders and stunt enthusiasts, the other lane was designated for activities.
Despite clear guidelines by the BMC that no bicycle rider will be allowed on the Ram Mandir-Station square route, the violation was a common place. When some members from the public opposed the violators, the latter claimed that they sought special permission from the authorities to ride bicycles anywhere across the venue.
This apart, the event witnessed a footfall of more than 50,000 people. Infants as young as three-month-old, nonagenarians on wheelchairs, kids from slums and people from every strata of the society came together to have their share of fun and physical workout.
Volunteers from Bharat Scouts and Guides and Youth for Seva were deployed for crowd management. While the newly designated ‘pet zone’ attracted huge crowd, gate ball was also a hit among the participants. Rock bands created a huge fan following through electrifying performances at the venue. Special Secretary, Home Department Lalit Das played saxophone at the venue and entertained the crowd.
Wildies, a group promoting conservation of birds, conducted a quiz ‘identify your birds’ which became an instant hit among kids, youth and elderly as well.
The prizes for different citizens’ engagement programmes during the preparation of Smart City Citizens’ Connect were distributed at the end of the programme.
The prizes included Idea Box awards, Signage and Logo Design contests. Sritez Kalas won the ‘Capture Bhubaneswar’ photography contest and Debasish Mishra was the runners-up.
On the other hand, a large chunk of participants complained about lack of space as the one-km stretch became congested by cycling enthusiasts mingling with pedestrians. Additional Commissioner (Enforcement) of Bhubaneswar Development Authority Bhabani Chayani said many participants have suggested to expand the venue along the Janpath towards Rupali square and it is being examined by the authorities.