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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

PODS project in Amritsar stands almost shelved now

Shaheen P Parshad, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, July 28, 2014
First Published: 07:50 IST(28/7/2014) | Last Updated: 07:52 IST(28/7/2014)

If dreams could have wings, the desire of Amritsar residents to be airborne on magnetic PODS would certainly have come true by now. However, due to the delay on the part of the government to initiate work on the ambitious project inaugurated four years ago, the project almost stands shelved now. The project that was to be overseen by the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board never proceeded beyond the foundation stone-laying ceremony phase.

On top of this, with the announcement of the proposed Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) worth Rs. 500 crore, the Amritsar municipal corporation officials want the residents to forget about the RS 250-crore Personal Rapid Transit System (PRTS), also known as the PODS project, which was announced by deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.

ABOUT THE PROJECT

Proposed on the lines of the one in London’s Heathrow airport, the magnetic PODS project entailed the use of a fleet of 210 six-seater cars floating 20-feet above the ground, in the first phase.

The cars were supposed to have the capacity to ferry around 6,000 people in one hour and were intended to ply between the stations at eight strategic points, covering the oft-frequented and most chaotic market places in the walled city area, which are important from religious, heritage and business points of view.

THE CHALLENGES

Besides the laxity of the government in initiating the work on the project, the shifting of utilities and protests by shopkeepers, who had their shops in areas where the stations for the project were to be constructed and had thus termed the project a hindrance in their livelihood, as well as objections raised by heritage enthusiasts that it would spoil the heritage look of the city, were some of the challenges that posed a roadblock.

A number of committees were constituted to execute the PODS project, but the work could never start and almost stands shelved now. The deputy CM had alleged that there were certain technical flaws due to which the project had been held back.

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