Trams, the eco-friendly, slow moving mass transport system might be reaching the end of the road in Calcutta, the only city in the country where these two-carriage cars run.
"Though a symbol of the metropolis's heritage, the trams will have to be removed in a phased manner to decongest roads," West Bengal Transport Minister Subhash Chakraborty said, unveiling an ambitious Rs 164.79 billion master plan for traffic and transportation in Calcutta metropolitan area.
"We will keep a patch or two to operate heritage trams, but the rest will be taken off the roads to provide the city additional 76-km of arterial road space," he told a seminar attended by five of his cabinet colleagues.
Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta pointed out that the move would not lead to unemployment as the tram workers would be absorbed in buses run by the Calcutta Tramways Company.
"If we remove tramlines from the huge stretches of APC Road, AJC Road and Rashbehari avenue, there would be ample space to construct a six-lane roadway," he said.
Pointing out that the Left Front government was once the biggest proponent of this eco-friendly mass transport system, he said recent cost-benefit analyses, however, had forced the government to think otherwise.
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