On a bike tour of India, a man from Bengal asks people to protect the environment
A 35-year-old man from West Bengal invested all his savings to cycle the country and create sensitization on the importance of saving trees and water.
The owner of a small shop, Arup Biswas, has already traveled to several states in eastern and northeastern India.
“I started my journey on 23rd January this year, the birthday of Netaji from Bijpur (in the district of North 24 Parganas). My goal is to raise awareness of the importance of preserving trees and water for our survivalsaid Biswas PTI after reaching Alipurduar in the northern part of West Bengal.
After cycling through Jharkhand, Bihar, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, he now aims to visit Sikkim.
He plans to visit the northern, western and southern states.
“I originally set myself a goal of 18 months to complete my tour. But as I visit many interiors and remote areas across the country, it will probably take two and a half years,” he said.
Biswas, a resident of Bijpur in North 24 Parganas district, carries with him the necessary items – utensils, stove, ration, blankets, clothes and others on the transporter. An Indian national flag and two solar panels are mounted on the front of his bike.
The solar panels allow him to charge his mobile phone and turn on a light in the evening.
He also glued small panels with messages about environmental protection and decorated the cycle with artificial plants.
“The bike weighs around 65kg because I’m carrying all these things,” he said.
Speaking about his experiences so far, Biswas said he found that people are unaware of simple things such as what oxygen is.
“It was very difficult for me to make them understand the importance of saving trees and water,” he said.
However, most of these people accepted it wholeheartedly.
“They gave me money for my trip. They even let me stay at their house,” he said.
But not all experiences are good. “I will not name the state. There, a man had taken money from me to buy a bottle of alcohol for himself,” Biswas said.
He said that in the plains he cycled 100 to 120 km per day and he cycled 25 km per day in the hills. If he receives no invitation to stay with someone, he spends nights by the side of the roads, in temples or markets.
“At Mizoram, I spent several nights in the jungle,” he said.
“When I travel, I interact with at least 200 to 250 people every day. Curious onlookers, occupants of various vehicles traveling on the highways also sometimes approach me and I use these interactions to educate them about the importance of saving trees and water,” said Biswas, who has studied up to to class 11.
The cyclist also intends to visit Nepal and from there he wants to go to Uttar Pradesh. Then he will visit Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir and other states.
“Odisha will be the last state from which I will re-enter West Bengal,” he said.
Going on tour was not easy for him as his parents were unwilling to let him go. So he had to convince them that assignment was for a good cause.
During his trip to western and southern India, Biswas plans to visit the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as well as Lakshadweep.
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