Saturday, April 1

Double-decker delight from Jamshedpur

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A Jamshedpur-based automobile fabrication unit will have a hand in the double-decker buses that will roll out on the roads of Calcutta for tourists later this year.

The Bistupur-based company, Bharat Engineering and Body Building Company Pvt Ltd (Bebbco), with its factory at Adityapur (in neighbouring Seraikela-Kharsawan district) has more than four decades’ expertise in automobile body fabrication and modelling.

The West Bengal Transport Corporation Ltd (formerly The Calcutta Tramways Company) has asked the company for five open-top double-decker buses.

“We got the order from the WBTC for customised open-roof double-decker buses in January. It is a new thing in India and this will be the first such open roof double-decker bus, which is more popular in European countries,” Navin Bhalotia, Bebbco managing director, said.

“We rolled out the first such bus in March and only after getting a nod from the WBTC started making the other buses as part of the order. The manufacturing got a bit delayed because of the lockdown but we will fulfil our commitment and roll out the buses by August.”

At present, double-decker buses ply only in Mumbai.

The buses will be primarily used to ferry tourists, a WBTC official at the company’s administrative office on RN Mukherjee Road said. “We will have both open-roof and closed double-decker buses. These remodelled buses will have CCTV cameras, electronic controls, automatic doors, destination information boards, fire extinguishers and seat belts.”

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee wants to reintroduce double-decker buses, taking inspiration from the European-style open-roof double-decker buses, the official said. “Initially, these buses will be tourist vehicles. Depending on their suitability for city roads, the transport department will consider integrating them into public transport and will allot routes accordingly.”

Double-decker buses introduced in Calcutta in 1926 were a popular means of public transport before being de-commissioned by the state government in the 1990s. The design of the buses has been approved by the Pune-based Central Institute of Road Transport (CIRT).

“The upper deck will have a sitting capacity of 30 and the lower deck 18 (excluding the driver and the assistant). The cost of an open-roof double-decker bus is Rs 17.5 lakh,” Bebbco managing director Bhalotia said.

Last month, the Jamshedpur-based company had developed the country’s first Covid-19 mobile testing laboratory with fully automated sanitisation and thermal scanning facilities.

Source: Times of India

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