After concretising tram tracks in the city, the state transport department has turned its focus on the tramcars.
Renovation and concretisation of trams tracks will be over by June 30, 2007, following which the department will take on the task of upgrading the trams.
Transport minister Subhas Chakraborty has asked the engineers of his department to approach the countries that still run trams and learn about the advanced technology in use there.
“I have asked officials of my department to scan websites and make a list of countries where trams still exist,” Chakraborty said.
“We will send a team of engineers to those countries, so they have a first-hand idea of the technology used there. We will try to incorporate that technology in the running of our tramways,” he added.
The primary focus, Chakraborty pointed out, would be on making the tramcars move faster and provide more comfort to the passengers. “We aim to have light-weight trams that move faster, causing minimum damage to the roads.”
Calcutta Tramways Corporation chairman Rajdeo Goala, however, said: “The whole thing is at a very preliminary stage. The engineers are working on it.”
Officials in the transport department said two companies from the USA and France had approached the state government five years ago with a tram modernisation proposal.
They had proposed a dedicated route from Esplanade to Thakurpukur for plying trams. But the idea could not be implemented because of a funds crunch faced by the government at that time.
Asked about the proposed restructuring of the transport sector, the minister said the department was not considering any such policy.
The restructuring will be considered only after the team of engineers returns from its visit to the foreign countries.
“After the engineers return, we will have a clear idea about the number of people we would need in the transport sector. The restructuring process will then be thought about,” Chakraborty said.
Tram tracks in Calcutta now run around 64 km, excluding the Joka-Taratala route, that may soon be scrapped.