Sustainability Outlook recognizes Raahgiri Day at annual awards
Raahgiri Day was selected as a distinguished finalist and received an honorable mention at the 2014 Parivartan Sustainability Leadership Awards. The awards were announced at the evening meeting of the Annual Summit of the Sustainable Business Leadership Forum on October 16, 2014 in New Delhi, India.
India’s weekly open streets event – Raahgiri Day – encourages people to live healthier lives by helping them reclaim their streets and become physically active. Each Sunday, large stretches of busy roads are closed to traffic and opened to the public for a range of activities including yoga, cycling, dancing, and more. EMBARQ India and other founding partners have been active in expanding this concept from Gurgaon to Ludhiana, Navi Mumbai, New Delhi, and most recently Bhopal.
Sustainability Outlook – a forum on corporate sustainability issues – instituted the Parivartan Sustainability Leadership Awards to recognize and showcase exemplary efforts around resource conservation and innovation. Nominations were invited from companies, organizations, service providers, institutions, and individuals that prioritized sustainability while creating value for the community they serve. In the past few years, the awards have recognized exceptional initiatives by corporations to improve sustainable processes in manufacturing and other industries. The awards are designed to appreciate thought leaders in this space who are helping shift from business-as-usual to deliberate sustainable practices.
The judges consisted of professionals with experience in low carbon and inclusive growth, governance, environmental issues, and renewable energy. Raahgiri Day was selected for its innovative approach in promoting sustainable transport in cities. It was also recognized for being a community-driven movement.
“Raahgiri Day is a proof of concept that people are not averse to walking or cycling provided we give them safe and secure infrastructure,” said Amit Bhatt, Strategy Head for Urban Transport at EMBARQ India, who has been instrumental in the initiative’s success. “Raahgiri Day has also demonstrated that communities and citizen groups can work together to bring about positive change for their cities.”
Starting off in the small satellite city of Gurgaon, Raahgiri Day is now a full-fledged movement in five cities and counting. In September 2014, EMBARQ India helped spread Raahgiri to Bhopal, India’s 14th largest city. Bhopal’s rendition of Raahgiri Day saw special programs including fitness dancing, exercises, rangolis, cycling, skating, and sports including cricket, soccer, badminton, hockey and yoga. For the first time at a Raahgiri event, a computerized bike rental system was available. As this movement continues to grow and gain national and international recognition, EMBARQ India hopes to challenge and influence cities to grow inclusively, giving all citizens – especially pedestrians and cyclists – equal right to public streets.