SRDC board turns down ‘trackless tram’ plan for Chandni Chowk
The Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation’s (SRDC) ambitious proposal to introduce ‘trackless trams’ in the heritage Chandni Chowk area was not approved by the corporation’s board on Tuesday.
The proposal was found unsuitable as the area is very congested, board members said. The SRDC has been asked to explore cheaper options of transportation in the Walled city.
The SRDC, the nodal agency for the redevelopment of Chandni Chowk and other areas in the Walled city, had proposed two routes for ‘trackless trams’.
According to the proposal, both tram routes, one 7-km long and the other about 5kms, were to begin from and end at Rajghat and would have passed through Jama Masjid, Chawiri Bazar, Red Fort and Old Delhi Railway station.
“Chandni Chowk is very congested . The proposal was found unsuitable for the area as trams will be for mass transit. We need something that can move easily in congested areas. There is a need for a detailed ground survey and rework the plan,” said a member of the SRDC board headed by urban development minister Satyendar Jain.
The Delhi government had been toying with proposals to introduce conventional trams and electric trams in the Walled City for over five years but withdrew them as both plans were ‘infrastructure-intensive’.
Though the trackless tram proposal has not been scrapped, a SRDC official said it is exploring “cheaper options”.
In the detailed project report, SRDC had said the trackless trams would be half the weight of a diesel bus and hence would have almost no impact on the surface of the roads compared to the damage caused by trucks and buses. It would have zero emission since it would be purely electric, powered by lithium-ion batteries placed on the roof. They can be rapidly charged in 30 seconds. The charging stations can be interpretable in nature, allowing other electric vehicles in the locality to use the facility.
The SRDC is also exploring public transport options that will ply on the 1.5-km stretch between Red Fort and Fatehpuri Mosque, which has been completely pedestrianised. Though only non-motorised vehicles will be allowed to ply on this stretch, there is a need to regulate its number.
“Only registered cycle-rickshaws can ply on this stretch as per a court order. But there is a need for a mechanism to regulate their number and ensure there is no violation of rules,” said Sanjay Bhargava, president of Chandni Chowk Sarv Vyapar Mandal.