Kamal Nath bats for tramways
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Kamal Nath bats for tramways

Union minister of urban development and parliamentary affairs Kamal Nath suggests test drive of tramways in a medium-sized Indian city to gauge its efficacy

realestate Updated: Dec 16, 2013 16:16 IST

Addressing an Indo-French seminar on Sustainable Cities - Next Generation Tramways Solutions organised by FICCI in association with the ministry of urban development government of India and Embassy of France, Kamal Nath, union minister of urban development and parliamentary affairs, has suggested initiation of a pilot project on tramways integrated with the transport systems in a medium-sized city.

Nath said a tramway model integrates well and connects the areas within city and intercity where Metro, BRT and monorail cannot go. Tramways allow towns to capture the economic impulse and density generated by large cities.
He said, transportation is critical to India’s economic growth, and a clean energy solution that provides smart mobility in our urban areas and allows freight to move easily is essential. Tramways’ new rapid transit system can be used for moving people or freight. It is electrically powered, fully automated (driverless) and operates using intelligent drive bogies travelling inside a fixed guide way.

“I personally feel, guide way support construction projects are fast and inexpensive, minimising neighbourhood disruption in comparison to any at-grade rail system. Operating costs are lower than for buses. A tram system will provide easy inter-operability with first-mile/last-mile modes such as bikes and walking, existing transportation systems, as well as high speed rail and rapid transportation systems of the future,” said Nath.

Urban infrastructure is a sunrise sector, however, India’s infrastructure challenges are huge. None of the solutions to India’s infrastructure challenges are simple, but business leaders, some enlightened government officials, and even ordinary citizens are chipping in to make things better, he added.

On the occasion, he also released a white paper on ‘Tramways (Light Rail Transit) for Cities in India’.

Sudhir Krishna, secretary, ministry of urban development, Government of India, said that partnering with France in the space of urban transportation will help India to develop its transport system which is an important component for growth. Tramways are not new to India, but it has been neglected in the past. With the assistance of French experts, tramways of Kolkata can be rejuvenated and can be introduced in other parts of India. Several tier 2 cities can find a cost effective and efficient mode of transport in tramways, he added.

Earlier a MoU was signed between India and France, which will facilitate in furthering collaboration between the two nations in developing the urban transport of India.

Paul Hermelin, the French special envoy for bilateral economic relationship, said that in 1998 India and France had entered into strategic partnership and development of urban transportation is at the fore front of this partnership. Tramway is one of the best means of transport for India, he added.

With the help of new technology and keeping in mind the specific needs of India, tramways can be reinvented to meets the demands of Indian transportation. It doesn’t require high-end technology, the functional cost is lower than buses and has a higher carrying capacity than a bus, he said.

Sidharth Birla, senior vice president, FICCI, said that the growth and future of our cities and emerging towns hinges on how policy makers, town planners and tax payers collaborate towards sustainable and meaningful solutions to the needs of urban infrastructure. The development of modern cities the world over show how critical it is to have a forward looking vision and framework, he added.

There is an urgent need for upgradation of infrastructure, transportation and urban services, while present levels are inadequate to meet the existing needs, Birla said and added, a city or town specific vision and urban transport strategy would serve well to effectively address challenges and concerns for providing better mobility solutions.

First Published: Sep 09, 2013 20:39 IST