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Regular-article-logo Monday, 27 May 2024

Dumb vandals attack smart ride in Ranchi

100 cycles badly damaged in 5 days

Vijay Deo Jha Ranchi Published 08.03.19, 07:36 PM
Boys misuse a smart cycle in Ranchi.

Boys misuse a smart cycle in Ranchi. The Telegraph picture

Public property is a sitting duck for vandals seeking cheap thrills. The cycles-for-citizens project under the Centre’s Smart City project has shown up this shameful aspect of Ranchi in five days flat.

Of the 600 cycles that rolled out from 60 stations on March 3 as free trial run, some 100 cycles were found damaged and 50 more had been taken home by riders, said the operational manager of Ahmedabad’s Chartered Speed, implementing the project in Ranchi.

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What’s more, a security guard who protested vandalism at the Kishori Yadav Chowk cycle station was thrashed on Thursday night. As every cycle had GPS, they could be tracked back, or else most would have vanished, the manager added.

Chartered Speed operational manager Shashi Ranjan Kumar said he was aghast.

“Cycle seats are torn with sharp blades. People damaged handles, brake wires, digital locks, chains and wheel spokes, removed mud guards and front baskets. In some cases, even tubes were removed,” he said. “We started a weeklong free service starting from March 3 to promote cycling among people. We never anticipated this. Last (Thursday) night our security guard at Kishori Yadav Chowk (cycle station) was beaten up when he objected to people damaging cycle parts,” he said.

He added the worst part was that most accessories were imported. “The cycles have been sent to our company’s workshop at Samlong for repairs, but it is both costly and time-consuming to repair and replace imported accessories. Repairs will take at least a month. Sad that some people without civic sense are denying this fine opportunity to genuine cycle riders,” he said.

A company official said they recovered all cycles from homes in Hindpiri on Thursday night. “Since these cycles have inbuilt GPS we tracked the location. People took away cycles for rides and parked them at homes. As per rule, you must ride it back to the cycle station,” the official said.

Asked if any FIR had been lodged against vandals, Kumar said, “No, because it will be hard for the company and police to track people who damaged cycles. This was a trial run. So it was a free service without online registration for residents to warm up to the concept,” he said.

He added people were also parking their personal vehicles at the cycle stations, but in the face of vandalism, this was the least of their worries now.

From Sunday, March 10, the company would launch app-based cycle rides. “Users need to install an app named Chartered Bike and create accounts with identification processes and e-wallets. So, there’s user accountability and tenure-based charges for cycle rides. If there’s damage, there’s penalty,” he said.

Kumar would be glad to meet Ranchi youngsters such as Shikari Jha, 16, a schoolboy and Kanke Road resident. “What can I say, I am sorry on behalf of a handful people who have spoilt Ranchi’s image by vandalising cycles. My parents and teachers have taught me to protect national property. I used the cycle and found it very useful. Those who damaged cycles are ruffians who should be handed over to the police. But most Ranchiites are not like that,” he said.

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