Terming fuel conservation a collective responsibility, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday flagged off and, thereafter, also took part in an awarenes promoting “cyclothon” event here that saw participation of around 5,000 people.
With a direct relation between cycling and conserving transport fuel, the Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) had organised the capital’s first Saksham Pedal Delhi Cyclothon, which included the National Cycling Championships as a component feature.
“Conservation is a collective responsibility, and it will be possible only when industries, individual citizens, organisations, oil companies and the government share the responsibility of petroleum conservation,” Pradhan said at the inauguration ceremony at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here, the starting point of the cycle marathon.
Benefits of cycling are not only limited to the environment or fuel conservation, but also carries huge health and fitness dividends, he added.
The event was organised around four categories – Elite Cycling (50km/30km), Amateur Ride (30 km), Open Ride (10 km) and Green Ride (5 km), while participants could enrol for various categories via online registration.
India’s 150 elite cyclists were seen in action at the National Cycling Championships, including Mumbai-based film actor and cycling enthusiast Farhan Akhtar, who is the brand ambassador of Saksham Pedal Delhi.
The winner in the Elite men’s category was Satbir Singh, while T. Manorama Devi won the Elite Women championship. The event had prize money worth Rs 8 lakh.
The event supported by the Cycling Federation of India and all state-run oil and gas firms – Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum, Hindustan Petroleum, ONGC, GAIL, Oil India, MRPL, CPCL, NRL and Indraprastha Gas Ltd.
Annoucing the event earlier, PCRA Executive Director Alok Tripathi had said the transformations in Indian society had made it all the more urgent to bring about a change of mindset on fuel use, and that the cyclothon had been timed to coincide with the seasonal worsening of air pollution in Delhi.
“In our country we have a stigma against cycling as being the means of conveyance for the poor,” he said.