Calcutta Tramways plans boat services on Hooghly to connect outskirts with city centre

For thousands of commuters travelling by suburban rail daily to Kolkata, the Calcutta Tramways Company Ltd (CTC) may soon offer a more pleasant transport option. As part of its survival strategy, CTC plans to start high-speed vessel services on the Hooghly river, connecting prominent suburban towns.

With tram services proving unviable, the 130-year-old tramways company had in the past entered the road transport segment. The decision, however, failed to bring about any significant change in the fortunes as CTC now loses approximately Rs 200 crore a year.

“We are planning to offer river transport solutions from the central business district in Kolkata. A detailed project report will be submitted to the State Government on Tuesday,” Shantilal Jain, Chairman of CTC, told Business Line.

The project is also aimed at generating additional revenues for the cash-strapped transport corporation, Jain added.

According to sources, the company plans to initially procure 6-8 such high-speed vessels for Rs 1 crore each. The services will connect Shubpur, Rishra, Barrackpore with Babughat in the central business district.

CTC has roped in a Kolkata-based private consultant for the project.

According to Jain, old jetties need to be overhauled before starting the high-speed launch service.

Heritage Tram

The tramways company is in the process of finalising a project report for heritage trams in the city, Jain said. Under the proposed project, CTC is planning to run trams surrounding places such as Victoria Memorial Hall, Race Course and Brigade Parade Ground.

“We have readied a detailed report for the Rs 100-crore heritage tram project. We will submit this report to Union Urban Development Ministry soon,” Jain said.

(This article was published on August 7, 2012)
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