S.N. PAL, general manager, Calcutta Tramways Company (CTC), met readers of The Telegraph at his 12, RN Mukherjee Road office last week 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, Debasish Dutta and Subhamoy Ghosh
Kiran Roy Chowdhury: We have been hearing about a projected turnaround by the tramway for quite some time now. How much longer will it take to revive the CTC'
A number of steps need to be taken for a revival. Recruitment to key posts alone will take at least three to four months.
Subhamoy Ghosh: Just for academic interest, what is the measurement of a tram track'
A tram track measures four feet and eight-and-a-half inches.
Md. Aamiruzzaman: The tramway, you say, is suffering a financial crisis. Do you plan to introduce monthly tickets, as in the railways'
Your proposal for our well-being is most welcome. However, a deep analysis of the system is required before we introduce monthly tickets.
Debasish Dutta: Of late, there are fewer breakdown vans operating in south Calcutta, resulting in harassment to commuters.
The number of breakdown vans has not decreased. Actually, the number of derailments is up, and that is because the tracks need immediate repairs.
Bhaskar Roy: Tram services have been withdrawn on the Ballygunge-Joka section to facilitate the construction of a flyover at Taratala. Will it be possible to run CTC buses on the route'
That is a justified demand. However, services have not been suspended on the entire route. We are running buses from Behala Blind School to Esplanade. Of course, the number of vehicles is limited and this service may continue till work on the flyover is complete.
Diptimoy Ghosh: More than a decade ago, tram tracks were laid between Ultadanga station and the Maniktala intersection, via Kankurgachhi and Vivekananda Road. Surprisingly, trams on the route ply to Esplanade and BBD Bag but they do not go to Shyambazar. The section has a heavy rush of commuters, who have to change trams to get to Shyambazar. Canít the CTC provide north-bound cars on the route'
For connecting Salt Lake-Kankurgachhi with the north by tram, plans are afoot to lay a loop line from Sahitya Parishad Street to Rajabazar. Work will start after the Pujas.
Diptimoy Ghosh: A few months ago, you announced the introduction of a tourist tram. What is its status'
A tourist tram will be introduced after development of the tracks. Trams, you will be pleased to know, play a vital role in our stateís tourism sector.
Susanta Mondal: The CTC workshop used to employ a number of skilled workers.
I am absolutely aware of the vacancies and have sent specific proposals to the government. We need to recruit experts, but they may be taken on contract.
G.C. Laha: At one time, people used to travel by tram on Howrah bridge. Are there any revival plans for the route'
None at present. Tram services were withdrawn from the bridge to speed up the flow of vehicular traffic.
Subhamoy Ghosh: The transport department proposes to ply trolley buses driven by power from overhead wires used by trams and on the same routes. Will the scheme jeopardise the existing tram services'
Trolley buses will be a boon for commuters. But above all, we need to repair the tracks.