Car-free day a big hit

By: Rohit P.S.

Driving through Hi-Tec City region may soon turn pleasant if the Hyderabad Software Enterprises Association has its way. For now however, one has reasons to be pleased with smooth thoroughfare just on Thursdays.

On August 6, the association with support from the Telangana government launched an initiative to encourage employees in the IT/ITeS sector to use public transport, carpool, walk or cycle to work on Thursdays.

Six weeks later, the association has proud claims to make — nearly 10,000 fewer vehicles on city’s roads on Thursdays, one-lakh litres of fuel saved since the initiative kicked off and 273 tonnes of greenhouse gas emission prevented. Just about 10 per cent of the vehicles were estimated to be cars.

“The initiative aims to get more people to give up driving their vehicles to work. This would help do away with parking space hassles in companies, lower air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the city besides freeing up roads,” said Ramesh Loganathan, the association’s president.

The initiative has caught the fancy of big guns of the industry, including Tech Mahindra, TCS, Cognizant, Wipro and Polaris, resulting in saving of 2,00,000 man-hours since it was launched. An estimated 1.2 lakh vehicles are said to ply towards iconic Hi-Tec City and its environs, including Madhapur and Gachibowli where most IT and IT-enabled Services offices are located.

Mr. Loganathan explains that corporate social responsibility (CSR) forums in the companies are crucial to promoting the concept. Forum volunteers stand with placards at company entrances and exits to remind people to leave their vehicles at home on Thursdays. They also hand out cards with alternative commute options, replete with bus numbers, routes, and carpooling apps! Online promotion of the initiative complements real-world efforts.

“In TCS, in the first week we had around 190 cars less in office that increased to 250 in the second week. We have set up a carpool stalls at our work locations, availed by around 2,000 associates,” said TCS’s V. Rajanna, vice president and regional head, Global Head–Technology Business Unit.

More buses on the roads

To do its bit, the TS government has increased frequency and number of buses plying through the Hi-Tec City and its surrounding areas on Thursdays. Government’s liaison officers with the corporate sector also reveal plans to award organisations which promote green initiatives.

“Such awards create a global perception of organisations, which matters a lot. We are also planning to create 10 cycle stands in Hi-Tec City region to improve interconnectivity within the area and between transport hubs,” said Amarnath Reddy Atmakuri, Chief Relations Officer for the IT Department.

HYSEA and its associates are planning to observe ‘World Car-Free Day’ on Tuesday to promote Car-Free Thursday and to let Hyderabad heave another big sigh of relief this week.

Source: The Hindu

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