Panjab University’s second car-free day, observed on Friday, displayed an on-and-off approach, indicating slight improvements in communication and management compared to the initial attempt. Despite the university’s declaration that participation was voluntary, car drivers could be seen engaging with security personnel, leading to traffic congestion, particularly near gate number 2. Entry was permitted on a case-by-case basis, and the campus wasn’t entirely free of cars.

According to Vikram Singh, the university’s security chief, organizing the car-free day was more challenging this time due to three major events scheduled at the university. They allowed entry on a case-by-case basis, and parents collecting their children from Ankur School, which was holding an event at PU, were not restricted.

While the previous car-free day resulted in a 75% reduction in car traffic on campus, this time it ranged between 55-60%.

Panjab University Campus Student Council’s general secretary, Deepak Goyat, noted that with Monday being a holiday, many students skipped classes on Friday to enjoy the long weekend. This lower attendance made it easier for the authorities to manage the gates.

However, there is still a challenge in convincing faculty members not to bring their cars, as some believe the issues arising from the car-free days should be addressed by the PU syndicate, as it is set to become a monthly feature. While some students opted for e-rickshaws within the campus, the university’s shuttle bus service continued to have few passengers.

In September, the university designated the last Friday of each month as a “car-free day,” starting with September 22, in line with the global celebration of World Car Free Day. The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) team, during a recent visit, also urged PU to reduce vehicular traffic on the campus.

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