The Centre is contemplating introducing tramways in cities having populations of 10 lakh to 15 lakh in the country. The plan is aimed at providing better urban public transport.
Besides working on ensuring safety, the Ministry of Urban Development is preparing a plan to reintroduce tramways and integrating them with other transport systems like bus rapid transit system, railways and mono rail to provide first and last mile connection.
The ministry plans to fund states in building tramways under the urban transport component in the second phase of the Centre’s flagship Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme.
Under JNNURM’s second phase, which will begin mid-next year, the Centre will sanction fund for establishment of urban transport in tier II cities. As tramway is economically cheap and less polluting, the ministry will ask the states to prepare a project report for seeking funds from the Centre, said S K Lohia, Officer on Special Duty, Ministry of Urban Development.
Tram transport in India was established by the British in the 19th century. Though it was discontinued for various reasons in many cities between 1930 and 1960, it is still a popular mode of transport in Kolkata.
The first electric tram service was started in Madras (now Chennai) in 1895. Electric trams were subsequently introduced in Kolkata (1900), Mumbai (1907), Kanpur (1907) and Delhi (1908).
Though the states have been urging the Centre’s help to start metro rail systems, the ministry suggested exploring cheaper alternative transport system like tramways instead of going for costly transport system like metro rail.
The tram system will provide easy inter-operability with first-mile/last-mile modes such as bikes and walking, existing transport systems as well as high speed rail and rapid transportation systems of the future, said the official.