The revival of trams is part of the action plan under the National Clean Air Programme for Kolkata.
But in reality, trams are being pushed towards death, several urban transportation experts said in a meeting here on Saturday.
Panellists at the discussion made it clear that “mindset and lack of political will” have hindered sustaining trams in Kolkata and not the availability of funds.
They pointed out how eco-friendly trams play a key role in transportation in most global cities.
The experts blamed both the erstwhile Left government and the present Trinamul regime for ignoring trams.
“If the government wants, it can explore the option of using the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) funds and funds for electric vehicles as the tram is the mother of electric vehicles,” said Anumita Roy Choudhury, air pollution expert from the Center for science and environment (CSE) in Delhi.
Bhargav Moitra, a transportation expert from IIT Kharagpur, said private-public partnership options can be explored to run trams effectively. Trams were not slow-moving considering the city’s average transport speed, he added.
“At present, about 10 trams ply on two routes,” said Mahadeb Shee of Calcutta Tram Users’ Association, which organised the meeting alongside another non-profit.
“A decade back around 185 trams used to ply on 37 routes,” said tram activist Debasish Bhattacharya.
CPM leader Mohammad Salim and Trinamul MLA and mayoral council member Debasish Kumar traded accusations for spoiling the tram system.
But both agreed that trams should continue in the city in this era of climate change.
Jadavpur University union election protest
Students protest at JU
A small section of Jadavpur University students staged protests demanding students’ union elections on Saturday when governor C.V. Ananda Bose, the chancellor, came to the campus for the convocation.
Representatives of students’ bodies stood in front of the venue with posters that said “We want students’ union elections”. They raised slogans when the chancellor’s car entered the campus.
“The elections are not being held over the past three years. Since the authorities and state government are not taking steps, we had to approach the chancellor,” Aritra Majumder, chairperson of the engineering and technology students’ union, said.
Vice-chancellor Suranjan Das said: “The protest was uncalled for. The students should have gone to the governor’s house and taken up the issue.”
Bose said: “If there is a problem, we will find a solution.”