Hopes for revival of trams in the Walled City has renewed with the high court-appointed nodal officer of Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Project directing Shahjahanad Redevelopment Corporation (SRDC) to prepare a comparative study of plying of trams and electric-buses (e-buses).
Earlier, the Delhi government had planned to reintroduce trams as public transport in Chandni Chowk area. However, the idea was dumped citing high infrastructure cost and the government had instead decided to ply e-buses.
“There is a need to evolve environment friendly transport system operating on electricity/battery. The options between battery-operated buses and the tram-like system as recommended by the DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) will be discussed in the next meeting. The SRDC should prepare a comparative statement touching on the cost, capacity to handle traffic and bring it in the next meeting,” said the minutes of the meeting which held pursuant to the Delhi high court order.
The directions came during the SRDC board meeting held last week. “Both proposals are likely to be deliberated in the next meeting to be held in first week of February,” said a source.
Union science and technology minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said the money is not an issue and he will arrange funds from the Central government for the project. “The tourism and culture ministry has its own funds which it gives for various projects to promote culture and tourism. I will request the minister in-charge to allocate funds for the tram project. I will not leave this project. I have been following this for long,” said Vardhan, who is also MP from the area.
In 2015, the DMRC was assigned the job to prepare the detailed project report (DPR) for bringing back trams in Chandni Chowk and its vicinity. Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia also visited the area to check the feasibility of the proposal.
In its report, the DMRC had found the running of trams in streets of Chandni Chowk possible. It proposed 4.3 km of tramline in the area, including 1.6 km elevated track. “Around Rs 60 lakh were spent on the study, however the proposal was scrapped in September 2015 citing high cost which was estimated at Rs 800 crore,” a senior Delhi government official.
He said, the PWD minister suggested electric buses as an alternative, which was accepted by the board despite resistance by others. “A few of members were of the opinion that to revive lost glory of old Delhi, trams should be restored. Finance department also opined before scrapping the idea of trams, a comparative study should be made. And, the decision to ply e-buses was taken. Nevertheless, no development has taken place in this regard,” he said.