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PostPosted: Wed 24 Oct 2012 21:01 
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The residents of South Kolkata will have the privilege of travelling on comfortable, pollution-free trolley buses by the end of this year. Later, the transport department has plans to expand the network of trolley buses to other parts of the city

If everything proceeds as per plans, the electricity-run trolley buses will start plying between Ballygunge and Tollygunge, where tram services had been suspended around a year back. The Ballygunge-Khidderpore route is the second in line to get these buses.

The transport department has decided to opt for trolley buses to make overhead wires of the tramways back to use. The overhead wires had been left unused for years after tram services were suspended in some parts of the city. At many places, tracks have also been removed or have been covered with a coat of bitumen. The trolley buses would ply on pneumatic tyres and no tracks will be required.

Officials of the transport department feel these fuel-efficient buses will boost up the public transport system in a major way. CTC chairman Shantilal Jain said that these electric buses will be of great use in routes where tram services have been suspended. They have already made a proposal to the government for utilizing the overhead wires by running trolley buses. Now the state government is going to buy these trolley buses. Tenders have already been called for private players to bid for the supply of these buses. He added that maintenance cost will be low.

There will be an initial cost for setting up the power back-up system and the pantographs, a metal framework that ensure a smooth running of trolley buses. The department is in contact with German experts to bring in the technology for running trolley buses successfully.

Officials have estimated the cost of introducing the trolley buses at Rs 100 crore, with the cost of each bus ranging between Rs 30-40 lakh. In this regard, Jain said that the department was scouting for funds with the urban development ministry. JNNURM funds can also be used for buying these buses. They are even looking for funds from the Asian Development Bank. Around 10 buses will be introduced in the first place.

The then Left government had also planned to introduce trolley buses in the city but with the lack of responses, things did not materialize as there was as only three companies who had expressed their interest to set up the trolley-bus system in Kolkata, said a transport official. ... -december/

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