Chandigarh: Despite vision loss, this IAS officer cycles to work


Meet the civil servant who, despite losing his vision, bikes to work, all with the help of his security guard. With the help of his PSO or driver, Rupesh Kumar, IAS, Chandigarh Municipal Corporation delegate, uses a twin bike to get to the office. The officer has retinitis pigmentosa, for which he needs this help.

The IAS officer hails from Amritsar in Punjab. He did all his schooling in Amritsar, GNDU, then moved to JNU for his graduate studies. Recently, he also completed his law at NLU Delhi.

Rupesh Kumar learned about his vision loss about 20 years ago. He said he gradually started having vision loss as he studied and worked at the same time.

It was later that he went to see a doctor and was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa. “It’s something I couldn’t help but do. There are some things in life you can’t stop, but you don’t have to give up hope and let anything deter your dreams,” Kumar said. At first, he did everything, including driving, easily.

“The way Manmohan Singh became prime minister, I landed in public service,” Kumar said with a smile. He said he wanted to make a change and he wanted people to remember him which is why he landed in public service.

“I want people to remember me after I die and that’s only when you do something different. Kumar said every day of life is a challenge, something he enjoys. “Without a challenge in life, life is not interesting. I would say life without challenge is nothing. If I can do my part to bring about a change, I certainly will,” he said.

The officer borrows a bike to go to work

According to Rupesh Kumar, he believes that everyone should cycle to work at least once a week, regardless of the situation. “It will not only reduce pollution, but also keep you fit. See the benefits of cycling for your own health and for the environment as well,” Kumar said.

He said he wanted to make a change and to make that change he himself had to lead by example. “To bring about change, you have to lead by example. A change cannot be made until you do it yourself,” Rupesh Kumar told The Indian Express.

“Since childhood, I really liked to ride a bike. Whenever I had this opportunity, I would. Now, being in a city like Chandigarh, where the city gives you plenty of opportunities to cycle, you have to do it here. You see the cycle lanes laid in Chandigarh,” he added. He also explained how he uses the cycle he gets. “I don’t have my own bike, so whatever I get, I use it to cycle to work,” he said.

Kumar said the twin cycle is really beneficial and it’s about inclusiveness. He also plans to be inducted into the public bike-sharing system.

“Twin cycles are really beneficial in this way. As in my case, either it is an OSP or my driver who goes with me. It can be used by couples or in families like a father and child or a mother and her child,” Kumar said.

He also added: “We are exploring the opportunity if half of the bikes at a station can be dual bikes. We are talking to the company that got approval for the project in Chandigarh.


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