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Bicycles find its way in blockade hit Manipur
Source: Hueiyen News Service / Sobhapati Samom

Imphal, October 31 2011: Scarcity of fuel due to three months old blockade and subsequent move to popularize use of cycle forced Imphalites to use bicycles as a mode of transportation in the state capital.

Manipur continued to face its worst fuel crisis due to economic blockade on its road links which entered 91 day today, demanding creation of a new district since July 31 midnight and counter blockade since August 21.Petrol is being sold at Rs 200 per litre while LPG(Liquefied Petroleum Gas)cylinder costs Rs 2000 in black market since the last four days.

"The scarcity of petrol and the recent popularization of use of bicycles compelled me to buy a new cycle recently", says Thoiba Leishangthem, manager of cellphone company-Vodafone Essar in Imphal was among the recent buyers of bicycles, while sharing his sentiment during a concluding session on Manipur Cycle Club(MCC),a club of cycle enthusiast sponsored VII Critical Mass-a global movement for popularizing cycle in the city, at BT park here on Sunday.

"From now on I will go my office with the bicycle." Besides Thoiba, many educated Imphalites have also started to own a bicycle as a mode of transportation in the wake of economic blockade on road links to Manipur.

Sources close to popular cycle outlets in Imphal including M/s L Ibohal Cycles Store also confirmed the new development.

Besides the continuous Critical Mass since its inception in January this year, also managed to bring back cycle loving individuals in diverse fields to busy Imphal roads.

"The octogenarians in our locality who regularly uses bicycles were all still healthy", opines Rajkishor, a lawyer in Imphal.

"Even though I cycled everyday except attending high court, the MCC's cycle popularization move would certainly encourage those who love to ride cycle as a mode of transport" .

Echoing a similar feeling on MCC's initiatives, European Manipuri Association (EMA)'s representative Okram Bishwajit said besides health and environment factors, mass use of cycle will improve the state's economy.

Like the rest of the country, use of motor vehicles is also on the rise here.

Having a total of 1,98,889 registered vehicles of which 1,39,675 are two wheelers last year, Manipur's transport department reportedly receives 35 applications for registration in an average daily this year.

"Poor state like Manipur can also save at least Rs 5 crores a year if we could introduce bicycles to its just 10,000 populations (Manipur population 27 lakh 2011 census) who usually spent Rs 50 on bus or auto-rickshaw fares a day as their mode of transport," the researcher of an Ireland company, who was here on leave, explained.

"Introduction of rent on bicycles in university campuses would also help in minimizing crime rates as criminals hardly use bicycles while committing crimes" .


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