Thane organisers plan eco-friendly rally to ring in Marathi new year
The annual new year’s procession, popularly known as Swagat Yatra, during Gudi Padwa organised by Kopineshwar Cultural Committee will have fewer vehicles and more people walking this year.
This year, Gudi Padwa is on March 25. With an aim to raise awareness on the need to conserve environment and prevent usage of plastic, this year’s procession is set to be a big affair with the engagement of children and adults.
In a meeting of the cultural committee, it has been decided that the students of Dr Bedekar Vidya Mandir will perform a street play to send out a message to Stop using plastic.
This year’s Swagat Yatra will lay emphasis on not using motor cycles and replacing them with cycles.
“The focus of this year’s procession will mostly be science. Veteran scientist Anil Kakodkar, a nuclear physicist and mechanical engineer, will be the guest at the yatra. Kakodkar was the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India and also served as the secretary to the Union government. He was the director of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay from 1996 to 2000,” said Uttam Joshi, president of Kopineshwar Cultural Committee.
The programmes during the event would usually take place outside, on the periphery Talaopali, every year. However, this year the events will be held indoors due to the ongoing repair work on the stretch.
“As part of the various initiatives that will be taken up, children will be encouraged to hold placards and posters highlighting the different Games that can be played outside. This move is aimed at motivating the children to step outside, away from their gadgets so that they can enjoy themselves outside,” said Arvind Joshi, executive president of the committee.
The organisers of the event had, two years ago, introduced an annual cycle tour during the event to make a move towards a pollution-free Thane, which is one of the most anticipated events among the children and adults of the area.
“We focused on different aspects of Thane in the past two years, from lakes to temples. We are planning something different this year, but at it will always talk about moving towards a pollution-free Thane,” added Joshi.
The Swagat Yatra, which begins at Kopineshwara temple and ends at Talaopali, has become an attraction for visitors over the years. Women come dressed in the traditional nauvari saree to take part in the bike rally. Some even tie a replica of the Gudi to their bikes during the rally. This year, 123 people registered for the bike rally, so far.