Sunday, November 28

Heritage art drive to revive Kolkata’s love for trams

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The West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC) has started putting up heritage installations inside trams to make commuters aware of the traditional value of this mode of transport. On Sunday, a tram on the Tollygunge-Ballygunge route got heritage art installed which highlights its eventful journey in the city and displays how it has metamorphosed from a horse-drawn vehicle to an electric one.

“We are aghast at how commuters abuse the tram compartments by spitting betel juice or littering. Through this campaign, we will make commuters appreciate that they are boarding the oldest surviving tram system in Asia. The idea is to to instil a sense of pride in the younger generation about the city’s heritage,” said a WBTC official.

The trams began in 1873 and got electrified in 1900. Since 1902, the electric tram has been running in the City of Joy. Like WBTC’s electric buses, which received appreciation from International Environment Agency (IEA), the trams, too, are environment friendly and form an integral part of Kolkata’s intangible assets.

When contacted over phone, WBTC MD Rajanvir Singh Kapur said, “The idea is to nudge people into respecting heritage, make children aware of the history of trams and keep them clean.”

Trams stopped plying in March when the lockdown started. Then tracks and the overhead wire system were damaged when trees were uprooted during Amphan. Since then, restoration work has been under way. The WBTC team of engineers is now working overnight to restore the tracks.

Out of the six routes that had been operational before the lockdown, one has been restored so far. The trial run was conducted on June 13 and services resumed from June 14. All social distancing norms and safety protocols have been maintained on board. No passenger is allowed on without a mask, and regular disinfection and sanitization of the vehicles are being carried out after each shift.

Source:Times of India

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