Trams set to make a comeback on Delhi's streets

New Delhi: Delhi is all set to get trams back. Take that Kolkata!

Fifty years after trams stopped plying in the national capital, the Delhi government has given ve its nod to a proposal to set up a tram network again.

Accompanied by MLA Alka Lamba, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia took a 'heritage walk' around Chandi Chowk early on Tuesday, to determine the infrastructure needed to build a tram network in the area. Sisodia, who is also the development minister of the state, announced that the tram services will be resumed as a part of the Shahjahanabad Redevelopment plan, originally formulated by the Congress government in 2007. The plan was shelved later. Old Delhi was called Shahjahanabad in the past.

The proposed network intends to link areas like Jama Masjid, Red Fort, Gurdwara Sheesh Ganj, Digamber Jain Mandir, Fatehpuri Masjid, Old Delhi Railway Station and New Delhi Railway Station.

The project to set up 4.3 km circular tram line will be carried out by Public Works Department (PWD) in partnership with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). The latter has already submitted a detailed plan to the government for approval. The project will be approved by Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation (SRDC), which had been set up to conserve heritage properties in Delhi.

DMRC spokesperson Anuj Dayal confirmed the report saying,  “Once it is approved, we will come up with a final proposal which we are working on."

“When the tram line passes through a congested area, the tracks will be elevated. The tram will comprise three carriages and will carry around 200 commuters. They will run at a frequency of five minutes from 8 am to 8 pm.” said a senior PWD official.

Right now, Kolkata is the only Indian city that has trams. IBN Live.

Right now, Kolkata is the only Indian city that has trams. IBN Live.

But how feasible is it to run trams on the busy streets of Chandni Chowk and its neighbourhood?

The PWD has already chalked out a plan to decongest Old Delhi and make it pollution free and pedestrian friendly. “To solve the traffic nightmare in the area, we have planned to regulate traffic. No buses and other heavy vehicles will be allowed to enter Old Delhi. Only non-motorised and eco-friendly mode of transport like cycle rickshaw and e-rickshaw will be allowed. Since Chandni Chowk is a commercial hub, businessmen there have big godowns. The godowns will be shifted. Arrangements will be made to park trucks and other commercial vehicles in Parade Ground. Multi-storied parking space will built,” Alka Lamba, who is on board of directors of the SRDC, told Firstpost.

“There is a proposal to construct a 15 metre wide footpath for pedestrians on one side and a 6.5-m pathway for pedestrians on the other side. Space for emergency vehicles will also be constructed. Furniture will be placed to provide seating to visitors. Space will also be earmarked for non- motorized vehicles."

She added, "There is no dearth of space. We have visited the area and three more visits will be made. There is no dearth of space. The roads have shrunk because of illegal encroachment, which will be removed."

The lawmaker claims that the government has a long list of proposals to revive Shahjahanabad. Some of them include improving the sewer system, redeveloping the roads, taking all electricity wires underground and beautifying streets.

“Our aim is to give Shahjahanabad back the nobility it had in the Mughal era. Apart from developing the infrastructure and basic amenities, our aim is to restore our cultural and historical legacy so that people from across the globe come here to enjoy it,” she said.

Asked about the approval of the project, she said it is expected in 10 days.

The government is making efforts to make the SRDC empowered enough on the lines of Delhi Cantonment Board and New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC). “We will give all powers to the SRDC so that it can implement its plans. Since its constitution seven years ago, the only job it has done is planning,” Lamba added.

Delhi had 22-km tram service between 1908 to 1963 linking Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk, Chawri Bazaar, Katra Badiyan, Lal Kuan and Fatehpuri with Sabzi Mandi, Sadar Bazar, Paharganj, Ajmeri Gate, Bara Hindu Rao and Tees Hazari. At that time, when the traffic was not so congested and bicycles, cycle- rickshaws and tongas were the means of transport. It's operation was stopped after the area got congested and more vehicles crowded the roads.


Updated Date: Aug 06, 2015 11:27 AM

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