West Bengal transport minister Firhad Hakim told the Assembly on Thursday that the state government has been mulling over a proposal to phase out trams from the congested routes in Kolkata.
If the plan is realised, the electricity-propelled public vehicle will remain operational only in the wider stretches of the city.
Replying to a question in the Assembly, the minister said the government was in favour of running environment-friendly streetcars along routes like Khidderpore-Esplanade, but not on the narrow stretches intersecting busy roads like Rabindra Sarani as it could lead to traffic snarls.
"In parts where the tram line runs through the middle of a thoroughfare, we have no other option but to phase trams out and probably replace those vehicles with new trolley buses that will draw power from overhead electric wires," he said.
Hakim later told reporters that one such trolley bus was being sourced from Europe for a trial run.
He also pointed out that though the production cost of electric vehicles might be half of that incurred for the fuel-driven ones, the lithium batteries used in those vehicles raise the overall expenses.
"We hope to undertake a study and arrive at a decision on the project in a year's time," he said.
By March 2023, the department concerned would also bring in 400 new electric buses and another 800 other buses by 2024, the transport minister said.
"We are also planning to give out the buses under West Bengal Transport Corporation on lease to private parties," he added.