The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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First push to rapid transit
- 10 firms keen to implement project

From Dunlop to BBD Bag in 15 minutes by monorail or Light Rail Transit (LRT), on an elevated track.

The grand fast-track transport dream of chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee began its journey towards reality, with 10 foreign firms expressing interest to implement the project.

The proposed mode of transport will run on single or double tracks. It will comprise four to six compartments, each having a capacity of 250 to 300 passengers.

The train will run at a speed of 35 to 60 kph at an interval of 10 minutes during peak hours.

The approximate project cost will be Rs 100 crore for each km of the stretch, with fares ranging from Rs 10 to Rs 50.

Transport department officials on Thursday met representatives from the companies to brief them about details of the proposed project.

Transport secretary Sumantra Chowdhury, chief traffic and transportation engineer B.K. Sadhu, managing director of the Transport Infrastructure Development Corporation (TIDC) Dhiman Mukherjee, and officials of project consultant Consulting Engineering Services were among those present.

Representatives from Siemens (Germany), Amex (Czechoslovakia), KLRS (UK), Conex (France) and Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (Mumbai) made their presentations.

Details were shared of technology, project cost, advantages and disadvantages, financial implications, terms and conditions, operation and maintenance, process of realisation of the amount invested and travel fare.

Although none of the bidders clearly specified whether the project would be implemented fully on a build-operate-transfer basis, it was hinted that the government should provide a portion of the funds required.

The proposed 50-km route will connect Joka in the southern suburbs with Barrackpore in North 24-Parganas, covering the central business district (CBD).

The first phase will be a 15-km stretch from Thakurpukur to Dunlop via the CBD.

There will be stations at a distance of every km and the projected passenger load is pegged at 20,000 per hour during peak period.

About 200,000 people are expected to avail of the modern mode of transport on an average every day.

The transport secretary remained non-committal on the sharing of funds, but said the government would arrange for the land.

'We will shortlist the bidders on the basis of their submissions, before preparing a detailed project report,' Chowdhury later told Metro.

Fourteen firms had responded to the global tender floated by the TIDC on August 4. Of them, 10 were shortlisted on the basis of their track record.

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