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The Hindu
The Hindu
K. Umashanker

Andhra Pradesh: On 3,200 km long cycling expedition for environmental awareness

While everyone dreads the pandemic, Rajasekhar(24), a State badminton player from Kuppam municipality, says the last two years and the struggles that people across the world had to face opened his eyes to the importance of a healthy environment for the health of humans.

A qualified engineer, Raju, as he is fondly called in Kuppam, was on a job search when the pandemic broke out. “Having lost the opportunities for two years, I directed my attention towards reading COVID-related news. The studies that focussed on the relation between degeneration of immunity levels among humans and felling of trees impressed me,” he said.

Having realised that the best way to lead a healthy life is to coexist with the flora and fauna, Raju wanted to raise awareness on the importance of increasing green cover among others. It was then that the idea of embarking on a bicycle expedition from Kuppam to Ladakh(3,200 km) hit him.

After preparing himself for the expedition and learning the rudiments of cycle repair in May, he began his journey on a road bike(a high-end bicycle) on June 14 with the slogan ‘Save the Nature, We have Only One World to live in’.

Raju said that he would sleep at roadside dhabas and petrol pumps at night, and take baths at agriculture borewells, streams, and riverbanks. His food would mostly consist of biscuits, bread, fruit and raw vegetables, and a light breakfast at dhabas.

“I could cover 100-120 kilometers per day. Seeing the Indian Flag tied to my cycle, a good number of people greeted me, particularly children. Passing through public places, I asked people to plant trees,” Raju, who had planted over hundred saplings in Kuppam, said.

Raju reached New Delhi on Monday, 20 days after he began the expedition. “I have spent about ₹60,000 in the last 20 days. From New Delhi to Ladakh, it might take another two weeks due to the hilly terrain. Once at Ladakh, I will plant the Indian flag there, and return by cycle up to New Delhi, from where I will reach Kuppam by train,” he said.

“On the way, some of them have even provided me with snacks and water bottles. I am thankful to them all,” he said.

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