Kolkata: With the Kolkata Police order banning bicycles and other non-motorised transport stands as invalid in the absence of government approval, which is mandatory, cyclists on Friday demanded that policemen stop charging fines and remove `No Cycling` boards.
Under the banner of `Chakra Satyagraha`, a people`s movement to protest against the blanket ban on cycling, they met Special Commissioner of Police Soumen Mitra and submitted a deputation including evidence proving the ban illegal.
They asked police to stop fining cyclists and remove `No Cycling/NMT` boards on roads by this Monday as the notification banning cycles stands expired.
West Bengal Transport Minister Madan Mitra had earlier admitted to PTI that the government has not yet approved the police order dated May 28 which banned cycles, cycle-vans, handcarts and bakery vans from 174 roads in the metropolis.
According to Section 4 (2) of the West Bengal Traffic Regulation Act, 1965, the order has to be approved by the state government within two months.
"Since it was not ratified, the order is invalid now. But then why are cyclists being fined and why are we having no-cycling boards? This is illegal," said Vinay Jaju of `Switch On`, the NGO which is spearheading the movement.
He said that if the Kolkata Police continued levying fines based on expired notification, activists will consider legal options available to citizens.
Newspaper vendors, milkmen, courier boys, transport and bakery vans continue to be held up, harassed and even beaten along with being fined anything in between Rs 80-150 in return of a stamped paper instead of a receipt.
Responding to an RTI query earlier, the Kolkata Police has already admitted that the blanket ban on cycling and other forms of non-motorised transport in the city was initiated without making any study on how the ban would improve traffic.
Besides affecting the source of livelihood of poor people, the activists are opposing the ban on grounds of pollution, oil price rise, health and traffic congestion.