In a bid to restore a piece of forgotten history, trams, which operated on Delhi’s roads for over five decades, may soon be seen in the Walled City. Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung has given in-principle approval to a proposal to revive trams as part of the Chandni Chowk redevelopment plan.
The decision was taken in a meeting last Friday which was attended by officials from the Public Works Department, civic bodies and traders’ representatives.
Transport experts, however, questioned the financial viability of the plan and said they were not convinced that trams were the solution to the traffic mess in Chandni Chowk.
First introduced in Delhi on March 6, 1908, at the behest of Viceroy Lord Hardinge, trams faded into oblivion in 1960 simply because there was no space to accommodate them. Now, the plan is to re-introduce trams on a 2.5-km long stretch — from Subash Marg to Fatehpuri Masjid. “I am not convinced by the idea of having trams in Chandni Chowk. If the tram is introduced in a car-free zone, it may work. But will it also connect Metro stations?’’ Akhileshwar Sahay, urban transport expert, said.
“There is a need to carry out a study to see if such a solution is financially feasible. There is some merit to the idea, but it should be taken up after a detailed project report to ascertain if it is a sustainable transport mode,’’ P K Sarkar, former head of the department of transport planning at School of Planning and Architecture, said.
“The plan is to revive the lost glory of Chandni Chowk. Trams will operate on the road from Subash Marg and Fatehpuri Masjid. It will run along wide footpaths. Only non-motorised vehicles such as cycles and rickshaws, will be allowed here,’’ a government official said.
The PWD is the implementing agency for the project. The government is look for technical partners like Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. Tenders will be issued to invite investment proposals in this regard.
“The proposal will be taken to Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (planning and engineering) Centre for clearance next week. The initial proposal is to operate the tram on the main Chandni Chowk road. Thereafter, it will be expanded to other circular routes,’’ the official said.
The Chandni Chowk redevelopment plan has been in the pipeline for over seven years now. “The plan includes moving all wires underground, creating footpaths for pedestrians, installing streetlights and overall improvement of the façade of the area,’’ the official said.