The 7th UN Global Road Safety Week, observed from 15 to 21 May 2023, sheds light on the crucial theme of “sustainable transport.” Recognizing the pressing need for governments to promote walking, cycling, and the use of public transport as primary modes of transportation, a seminar on “Promoting Safe and Sustainable Mobility: Strategies for the NGO Community” was organized by Suprativa in association with the District Level NGO Coordination Committee (DLNCC) and Forum for Prevention of Road Accidents (FPRA) in Cuttack.
Bringing together numerous NGOs, experts, and stakeholders dedicated to road safety, the seminar served as a platform for sharing knowledge, experiences, and best practices. Under the guidance of Mr. Rajakishore Panda, Chairperson of Suprativa, the event explored the challenges and opportunities related to safe and sustainable mobility, with a specific focus on the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Delving into various aspects of mobility, including transportation, urban planning, and environmental sustainability, the seminar emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts to achieve safe and sustainable mobility for all. Participants gained valuable insights into innovative approaches, successful case studies, and practical strategies that NGOs can implement to bring about positive change in their respective communities.
Mr. Kurshna Chandra Samal, Former Addl. DCP (Traffic), highlighted the lack of dedicated footpaths as a significant issue faced by pedestrians. He urged the city authority to invest in the construction and maintenance of safe and accessible pathways for pedestrians, separated from vehicular traffic, particularly in high-traffic areas and near educational institutions.
Speaking at the seminar, Bikash Mohapatra, Secretary of Suprativa, emphasized that road safety is a fundamental prerequisite for the successful transition to sustainable transportation. He stressed the need for authorities to address the safety concerns of pedestrians and cyclists in the district, emphasizing that prioritizing sustainable transport not only facilitates safer and healthier travel options but is also an outcome of such prioritization.
Addressing the seminar, Mr. Dillip Kumar Panda, President of SAFE India, emphasized the crucial role of pedestrian crossings in enhancing road safety. He called for the installation of zebra crossings and traffic signals at appropriate intervals to provide pedestrians with a clear right of way and foster a culture of respect for their safety among motorists.
Ms. Minati Bindhani, General Secretary of the Women and Child Welfare Society, stressed the importance of cycling as an integral part of sustainable transportation, offering numerous environmental and health benefits. She urged the authorities to develop dedicated cycling lanes, establish secure bicycle parking facilities, and promote awareness campaigns for safe cycling practices.
Mr. Amiya Bhusan Biswal, Convenor of the District Level NGO Coordination Committee, expressed the NGO community’s firm belief that addressing pedestrian and cyclist safety concerns will contribute significantly to building a safe and sustainable city. Such measures will protect the lives and well-being of citizens while encouraging a positive shift towards eco-friendly transportation options.
During the seminar, it was unanimously decided to approach the concerned authorities and request their due consideration and immediate action to enhance the safety and accessibility of roads for pedestrians and cyclists in Cuttack city.
Representatives from various esteemed organizations attended the meeting, including AWHAN, Maa Sarala Women’s Forum, BAAHKP, Maa Bindhya Basini CCI, Maa Bauti Jana Kalyana Seva Samiti, Catch Charitable Trust, IHRD, Utkal Sevak Samaj, FPRA, Suprativa, Swagatika Brudhesrama, SAI, Women & Child Welfare Society, Leal Aid Centre, ABP Smile, Drusti, Cuttack Development Council. Radio Utkal 91.2 FM and Radio Hirakhand 90.8 FM were media partners of the event.