S.N. PAL, general manager, Calcutta Tramways Company (CTC), met readers of The Telegraph at 12, R.N. Mukherjee Road to reply to their queries. Participants included Prodyut Bhattacharya, Dilip Dutta, Manojendra Chakraborty, Bhaskar Roy, Diptimoy Ghosh, Md. Aamiruzzaman, Susanta Mondal, G.C. Laha, Kiran Roy Chowdhury and Debasish Dutta
Prodyut Bhattacharya: People’s interest in tramcars has grown in recent times. Tramcar Banalata has generated a lot of enthusiasm. It is true that the CTC is facing a financial crisis and it is difficult to take up major projects, but we believe minor repairs can be carried out. What do you think'
You are right. Public interest in trams is increasing by the day. We cannot take up major projects due to a cash crunch, but minor works can certainly be carried out. I have already talked to the chairman on this issue. We hope some minor work, like track repairs, will be finished before the Pujas. Our aim is to reduce the breakdown of cars so that passengers can avail of a hassle-free ride.
Prodyut Bhattacharya: Do you have any plan to introduce more special tramcars like Banalata'
Trams have gained a heritage status. Institutions like Rabindra Bharati University and the tourism department have associated themselves with us on different occasions, including the birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore. We are thinking of introducing air-conditioned trams. If the tracks are properly maintained, we can think of taking up development schemes.
Prodyut Bhattacharya: Those who live beyond Serampore face trouble when train services become irregular. They will benefit if CTC buses are introduced on this route.
It is true that more new routes are needed. But this can be done only after we get new buses.
Dilip Dutta: Do you plan to purchase new tramcars'
No, we have no such plans. Trams are usually run either on reserved or on unreserved tracks. We are laying stress on the maintenance of the existing tracks. At present, 170 to 175 trams ply across the city daily. Recently, we got the approval to procure 60 new buses. We are also planning to get 140 more buses in future. Besides, we intend to construct a bus depot in Howrah.
Dilip Dutta: Is there any plan to introduce new bus routes in and around the city'
Let me clarify this point. The 60 new buses will ply on the existing routes. The damaged buses will be repaired and then added to the existing fleet. The number of routes can be increased after the fresh lot of 140 buses arrives.
Dilip Dutta: Is there any scope for fresh employment or promotions'
With the inclusion of the new buses, fresh employment will be necessary. But it cannot be said immediately on what basis the recruitment will be done.
Manojendra Chakraborty: Have you any plans to run abandoned trams that need minor repairs' At the same time, I would request you to arrange for proper display of boards indicating routes on buses'
Yes, we plan to run trams which need minor repairs. Besides, you have rightly pointed out that the boards need to be properly displayed.
Manojendra Chakraborty: Have you ever thought of abolishing seating arrangements according to ‘classes’ in trams'
This has been a convention and never represented any class distinction. But still, we will keep your proposal in mind.
(To be continued)