When India is emerging as a potential leader in the world's fight against climate change for the worse, thanks to the United States' decision to quit the Paris climate deal, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is asserting time and again the need for a green and clean environment, his own BJP did the opposite in UP where it had stormed to power in March this year.
The saffron government led by Yogi Adityanath has decided recently that the cycling tracks built by the previous Samajwadi Party (SP) government will be demolished because they were causing traffic jams. The tracks were laid in Lucknow, Bareilly and Noida under a scheme of former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav who blasted the current government for taking such a decision.
Reason cited by Adityanath govt for demolishing cycling tracks farcical
The logic cited by the Adityanath government stands no ground for a number of reasons. First, it only caused a major financial loss since crores of taxpayers' money had gone into their construction. Secondly, irrespective of the parties' ideology, laying cycling tracks for promoting a cleaner and safe environment is always a welcome move and by deciding to demolish them, the BJP government only sent across the message that either it doesn't believe its own PM's words or the PM himself is not actually convinced about what he says on environment.
Even if the cycling tracks are causing congestion, it is the government's duty to prevent such congestions by making people educated about the significance of going green.
Some reports even said that the SP government had laid the tracks serve its own electoral purpose since 'cycle' is its election symbol. Nothing could have been more ridiculous an argument than this. And given the mess the SP is in at the moment, the BJP need not had worried about the Yadavs' electoral prospects.
The same BJP supports cycling tracks in Bengaluru
What makes the BJP's double standard more obvious is that the same party's government in the southern state of Karnataka had promoted cycling tracks in the state capital – Bengaluru in the past. Even when the tracks came under encroachment of vehicles, vendors and civic works, the BJP had said that the tracks would be restored.
Even the Congress, which is in power in the state now, has not dumped the plan as its government is working on the modalities of a public bicycle sharing system after the Trin Trin project's success in Mysuru. So, if party politics is not a factor in the South when it comes to environmental good, why it is so in North?
PM Modi received a bicycle himself from Dutch counterpart recently
PM Modi, who himself was gifted with a bicycle by his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte during the former's recent visit to the Netherlands, needed to set up an example by asking the Adityanath government to refrain from doing harm to a noble cause just to score petty political points.
Adityanath's rise as the CM has surprised many and there is no doubt that he was picked to satisfy the majoritarian sentiments. But only political equations can't be a yardstick to judge a chief minister.
By deciding to demolish what is considered the lifeline of the modern-day global lifestyle, Adityanath has given evidence that he is not exactly an administrator of great capacity. He can serve the cause of environment when it is politically convenient (read banning slaughterhouses in UP) but not when he has a suspicion. These are not signs of a great administration.