Fazilka’s green design becomes world’s envy

Posted on 25th October 2012 in Hindustan Times
  • 25 Oct 2012 Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) Gaurav Sagar Bhaskar


  • FEROZEPUR: Fazilka is not the last place of the country but on Monday it seemed to be the first destination in the world’s journey towards greener transport when a global conference in Africa opened with the city’s Ecocabs story.
  • Ecocabs is basically bicyclerickshaw service made available at doorstep on telephone call through a network of call centres, similar to dial-a-taxi service. Navdeep Asija, founder of the Ecocabs project and administrative secretary of the graduates welfare association of Fazilka (GWAF), presented this case study at the opening session of the 15th Cooperation for Urban Mobility in the Developing World (CODATU) conference at the African Union headquarters i n Ethi opi an capital Addis Ababa. The theme this year is “the role of urban mobility in (re)shaping cities”.
  • At CODATU, the accurate expansion of which is coopération pour le développement et l’amélioration des transports urbains, an international scientific committee of 31 members employed by key institutions of the urban mobility sector of the world chose to inaugurate the conference with Fazilka’s presentation.
  • Nico McLachlan, president of the scientific committee, attended the opening session that was followed by official dinner hosted by the mayor of Addis Ababa. This year, representatives from more than 70 developed and developing nations, especially from Africa, are at the conference.
  • The event coincides with the celebrations marking 15 year of African Union and 125th anniversary of Addis Ababa. Most of Africa is emerging economy. Ethiopia especially recorded a two-digit growth rate in the last decade. The transportation of people and goods is crucial to developing countries, especially to meet the sustainability of the planet.
  • Africa is urbanising. The continent’s urban population is expected to be almost double of the current 450 million in another two decades. In sub-Saharan Africa especially, where half the population survives on less than $1.25 (Rs 67) a day, initiatives such as Ecocabs are considered ideal for not only generating employment for the poor but also contributing to the sustainability of the environmental through community participation.
  • Kasahun Hilemariam, director general of the transport authority of Ethiopia, and many other dignitaries showed interest i n Asi j a’s concept and desired to implement it in their respective regions. CODATU is a non-profit team with an international vocation that promotes international exchange between actors both in transport and urban mobility. The actors are the governments, companies, research institutes and professionals engaged in urban planning.

  • Every two years, the CODATU conference highlights the scientific and practical experiences contributing to implementing sustainable urban mobility in the cities of the developing countries. The 15th conference is on from October 22 to 25. “This is recognition to the spirit of the people of Fazilka who survived Partition, two wars with the neighbouring country and, with community participation, rose again to build an icon for the rest of the world,” said Asija.

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