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A Unique Tram Event Held in Kolkata to Preserve the Environment—GetBengal story

7 June, 2024 17:10:20
A Unique Tram Event Held in Kolkata to Preserve the Environment—GetBengal story

World Environment Day, started by the UN on June 5, highlights the importance of nature and how it is imperative that we do our part to preserve it. On this day, the community takes part in a variety of awareness-based events to better the environment. The city of joy also took part in several events.

A unique event was a tram ride around the city that highlighted the importance of sustainable and affordable modes of transportation. 

The Calcutta Tram Users Association, in partnership with the Switch On Foundation, organised a tram ride from Gariahat Tram Depot to Shyambazar Tram Terminal on World Environment Day, June 5, 2024. The event showcased a sustainable mode of transport that has the potential to reduce air and noise pollution. Thereafter, saplings were also planted. Not only the members of CTUA and the president, Debasish Bhattacharya, were present, but dignitaries, a folk band named Ekatara Desi, and students and staff from Silver Point School also took part in the event.

The Calcutta Tram Users Association aims at spreading awareness about the accessibility, affordability, and eco-friendly nature of trams. Their aim is to convince the government and authoritative bodies to recognise tramways as an important source of public transportation. On World Environment Day, they aimed to spread awareness about tramways and protest peacefully against their closure through a display of their sustainability and eco-friendliness.
The event kicked off at 9:30 a.m. at Gariahat Tram Depot. Along with the Ektara Desi band, Mr. G.M. Kapur and Mr. Souvik Roy graced the occasion with their presence. The dignitaries were presented with bouquets, after which speeches were given on the importance of preserving heritage and using trams as a mode of transportation for a sustainable future.

Mr. G.M. Kapur was present as a representative for the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage. “We support all green initiatives,” stated Mr. Kapur. He stressed the necessity of conserving the green cover of the planet. “Green mobility is one of the biggest requirements. The tramways in Calcutta are a green initiative, and instead of shutting them down, I think it is very necessary that they be expanded.” 

Mr. Satanjib Gupta stressed the necessity of using cycles and tramways as transportation, which are sustainable and not at all polluting to the environment. Popularly known as the Bicycle Mayor of Kolkata, he urged the government to make the city more cycle-friendly and tramway-friendly, which would have a significant impact on the high amounts of air and noise pollution throughout the city.

It is quite clear that trams are not taken very seriously as a mode of transportation in India. Tramways are popular outside India, in European countries. One of the people attending the event was Brother Francis, a French gentleman who has been working closely with Kolkata for over 20 years and frequently visits events conducted by CTUA to support Kolkata tramways. When asked about trams in France, he said that during the 1930s, the tram lines were wiped out to make way for cars. But they realised how cost-effective and eco-friendly trams actually were, so finally, in the 1960s, trams were brought back. Trams are a popular means of transport in France, and inside the city centre of Paris, cars are not allowed. It is open only to pedestrians and trams.

When asked why he chose to support tramways in Kolkata, he replied that he had a close connection with Kolkata. “Tramways are the future.” European countries understood the importance of tramways later on, and he is confident that India will eventually understand its importance too and soon make way for it.

Students of Silver Point School arrived with hand-held posters and cards, showcasing their solidarity in preserving tramways and highlighting their importance in reducing pollution. Despite their youth, they are passionate about the environment and understand the importance of trams. They had placards that read “Trams are environment-friendly” and “Save our trams.".

After the speech sessions and a performance of “Ekla Cholo Re” by the band Ektara Desi, the tram ride started. It made a stop at the Esplanade Tram Depot, where the band performed another song. Along the ride from Esplanade to Shyambazar, they performed many folk songs, with everyone singing and dancing along. The ride finally ended in Shyambazar at 12 p.m.

Let’s hope that environmentally friendly trams are soon back on the roads of Kolkata.

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