ONI Bureau: The Saksham Cyclothon event, flagged off from Bhubaneswar’s Kalinga Stadium this morning, attracted more than 10,000 participants from various walks of life.
While P&NG Minister Dharmendra Pradhan led the event, several eminent personalities including Arjun Awardee Minati Mohapatra (Cyclist), VR Raghunath (Hockey), Amiya Mallick (Athlete), Paresh Patel (Cricket), Munaf Patel (Cricket), Poulomi Ghatak (Table Tennis), Mihir Das (Actor), Anu Choudhury (Actor), Sabyasachi Mishra (Actor) and Achita Sahu (Actor) attended the flagging off ceremony and took part in the Cyclothon.
The 11-km Green and Fun Ride was held amidst great excitement and fan-fare to create awareness for cycle. The aim of Saksham Cyclothon is to spread PM Modi’s appeal to avoid use of petrol and diesel at least for one day in a week to conserve fuel and contribute towards nation building.
“Benefits of cycling are not only limited to protect environment or fuel conservation but it also carries huge health and fitness dividends. Judicious use of various forms of energy and its conservation is a matter of vital importance to all of us for the betterment of our society and healthy environment. Conservation is a collective responsibility of all of us. It will be possible only when the industries, individual citizens, organizations, Oil Companies and the Government share a collective responsibility of petroleum conservation to conserve the available resources of energy and create a cleaner environment for the future generations,” said Dharmendra Pradhan.
The winner in the Elite (Men’s) category, Rajesh from Tamil Nadu won a cash prize of Rs 1.25 lakh, while the Elite Women’s championship winner Rutuja won Rs 1 Lakh. Over 10,000 cyclists participated in the Green ride. Cash prize totalling Rs. 6 lakhs were awarded across various categories. In addition, 50 cycles were distributed to participants through a lucky draw.
The Bhubaneswar cyclothon was organized by Petroleum Conservation & Research Association (PCRA), and supported by the oil companies viz. IOCL, BPCL, HPCL, ONGC, GAIL, OIL, MRPL, CPCL, NRL and IGL with technical guidance from Cycling Federation of India. Another more than 70 such cyclothons are planned pan-India over the next 2 to 3 months to sensitize the country to adopt the ideology of conservation for a greener environment.