The government had no plan to discontinue trams; instead, it looked to make them sleeker, faster, and more efficient to prevent congestion on roads, said transport minister Suvendu Adhikari on Monday, when he unveiled two AC trams.
Built at a cost of Rs 25 lakh each, the single-car trams will run on old control system and motor. The exterior of the trams have been built at the transport department’s Nonapukur workshop and fitted with 5.5-tonne ACs. “I have heard people say the government was trying to do away with trams. But I want to assure everyone I feel for trams and want them to be in Kolkata, just like any other resident of the city. I hope after this inauguration, such rumours will be put to rest,” Adhikari said.
He pointed out that the roads could not be allowed to be congested and traffic flow had to be smooth. “To ensure smooth traffic on jam-free roads, we have to increase the speed and efficiency of trams and make them a viable transport alternative. We are working towards that. Trams are not only part of the city’s heritage, but also an environment friendly mode of transport,” the transport minister said.
An official of the transport department said the government had started exploring the options of cutting down on the dependance on vehicles running on conventional fuel to curb harmful emissions. The city has been witness to a surge in air pollution over the past few months and environmentalists blamed it on vehicle emissions. To check such pollution, the state introduced electric buses last week and is also contemplating to run trolley buses, which are similar to trams. “Talks are on to utilize trams fully without jamming roads. Introduction of the single-car trams is a step towards it. We are looking to increase its speed and efficiency,” the official said.
Tram-lovers drew hope from Adhikari’s assurance. “Trams can prove to be an asset for Kolkata, which is gasping for breath. It can ferry more people, compared to buses, but with zero emission. Many countries are reintroducing trams as an environment friendly mode of transport. We welcome the introduction of the two new trams and request the government to take help of technology to make them faster and sleeker so they don’t occupy too much of road space,” said Udit Ranjan Gupta of the Kolkata Tram Users’ Association.
Source: Times of India