The Sayaji Garden in the city will likely get a new toy train by the end of this year with the standing committee of Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) finally clearing the proposal last week.
The civic body will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a private firm to run the train on public private partnership (PPP) model.
The present toy train in the garden is 50 years old and only children can take a ride on it. However,the new train will be like the Atal Express at Kankaria Lake in Ahmedabad. Around 144 children and adults will be able to take joy rides around the park on it at a time.
The civic body had invited expression of interest (EOI) for the project in January this year and an eight-member committee comprising top civic officials was set up.
After scrutinising EOI,the committee had decided to award the work to Khodal Corporation of Viramagam (in Ahmedbad district) in June.
Incidentally,Khodal Corporation has set up the Atal Express and one more such train in Kota town of Rajasthan.
After getting approval of the special committee,the parks and garden department of the civic body had forwarded the proposal to the standing committee in June to authorise the municipal commissioner to sign the MoU with Khodal Corporation.
However,the process was derailed when the standing committee shot down the proposal and sought clarifications as to who would own the train and tracks at the end of 15-year-contract with Khodal Corporation.
The department modified the proposal and informed the civic body that VMC would be the owner of the property at the end of the agreement.
According to VMC,around 90 lakh people visit the public garden every year.
After the approval from the political wing,we shall sign the MoU within two weeks. The train should be on tracks within six months after that, Vitthal Chikhalia,director of parks and garden department told The Indian Express.
According to Chikhalia,the new train will have four coaches,each having capacity of accommodating 36 adults and children. The total capacity of the train will be 144 persons.
The common refrain from visitors and parents is they are not able to take a ride with their children on the train. With the launch of the new train,there will be no such complaints, Chikhalia said,adding the present 3.2 km-long route of the train would not be changed.
After the new train becomes operational,the present train,which was gifted by the royal Gaekwad family,will be displayed as an exhibit at VMCs Ajwa garden on the outskirt of the city.
After Kankaria Lake,Sayajibaug will be second public park to have a toy train in the state.