Professors of PT Sarvajanik College of Science in Surat on Friday. (Photo: Hanif Malek)
In an attempt to fight rising air pollution, the PT Sarvajanik College of Science in Surat city requested its teaching and non-teaching staff to ride bicycles to college on the 10th of every month. Friday being the first day, all the 58 staff of the college came on bicycle. The college principal Pruthul Desai has been cycling to college from his home, which is around three kilometres away, for the past eight years.
“It is voluntary. We are not forcing anyone to follow this. However, the way the pollution levels are rising, it’s time we start doing our bit. If bicycles can substitute two and four wheelers even for a few days, it will be of great help. Other educational institutes can also adopt this. Besides, cycling everyday can also help us stay fit,” Desai said.
“Today, all the professors and non-teaching staff responded to my request and rode cycles to college. In fact, some students have also joined the initiative - over 50 of them came on bicycles,” Desai added.
The college had purchased 30 bicycles in 2016 for the students. The student had to pay Rs 20 per month to use it. The contract for using the bicycles is renewed every year. Seeing a good response, the college authorities are planning to buy 50 more bicycles. There are over 1,300 students enrolled in undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the college.
Omprakash Yadav, a second-year BSc student who lives in Punagam, around eight kilometers from the college, has been riding a bicycle to college for the last two years.
“I come from a financially weaker family. Initially, I used to feel bad riding a cycle to college. But then I saw my professors and even our principal doing the same. I understood there is nothing to be ashamed of it as in a way we are contributing to the environment. Besides, it is also helps us stay fit.”
Chemistry professor Sambhav Vora (55) said, “We liked the idea of riding bicycles once a month. I live in Piplod area near Sargam complex which is around four kilometers from our college. I don’t have any bicycle. So, I rented one from the Surat Municipal Corporation’s bicycle services. I feel fit and now I have decided to purchase a bicycle of my own.”
“We have made arrangements for parking outside the college administrative building. If we get good response from the students and the staff, we will make it once a week,” Desai said.