Ropeways provide fast and last mile connectivity to hilly and inaccessible areas.
New Delhi: Developing an efficient transport network is a big challenge, especially in the hilly terrains and inaccessible areas. Creating a transport network in the hilly/inaccessible areas using conventional modes of transportation, i.e., road, rail, and air has multiple technical challenges. Additionally, a majority of India’s population is concentrated in the towns / cities, thus stretching the existing transport infrastructure to its limits. Hence, there is a need to de-congest such locations through use of safe, innovative, and economical modes of transportation.
Ropeways have emerged as a convenient, safe and preferred mode of transportation to provide both fast as well as last mile connectivity to such hilly and inaccessible areas or help de-congest urban congested areas.
In this backdrop, the Centre is giving a major push to ropeway development in the country. Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of two new ropeway projects connecting Gaurikund to Kedarnath and Govindghat to Hemkund Sahib in Uttarakhand. The ropeway in Kedarnath will be around 9.7 km in length and will connect Gaurikund to Kedarnath, thereby reducing travel time between the two places from 6-7 hours at present to merely 30 minutes. The Hemkund ropeway will connect Govindghat to Hemkund Sahib. It will be around 12.4 km in length and will reduce the travel time from more than a day to only about 45 minutes. This ropeway will also connect Ghangaria, which is the gateway to Valley of Flowers National Park.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRT&H) is responsible for the development of highways and regulating the road transport sector across the country. However, an amendment in the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules 1961 in February 2021, enabled MoRT&H to oversee and undertake the development of Ropeways and Alternate Mobility Solutions in the country.
8 PROJECTS TO BE AWARDED IN 2022-23
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while presenting Union Budget for 2022-23, announced the National Ropeways Development Programme–“Parvatmala Pariyojana” which will be taken up on Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) mode.
The vision of Parvatmala Pariyojana is to provide safe, economical, convenient, efficient, self-sustainable and world-class ropeway infrastructure through first and last mile connectivity to improve logistics and transportation in India. Under Parvatmala Pariyojana, 8 ropeway projects of total length of 60 km are planned for award in Financial Year 2022-23. The process for developing three projects of religious tourism importance, namely, Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Kedarnath (Uttarakhand) and Hemkund Sahib (Uttarakhand), have already started, with foundation stone for Kedarnath and Hemkund Sahib projects been laid by the Prime Minister. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) have been signed with multiple states such as Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, confirming participation in the Parvatmala Pariyojana through partnership with MoRT&H.
MAJOR FACTORS DRIVING ROPEWAY INFRASTRUCTURE
Economical mode of transportation: Given that ropeway projects are built in a straight line over a hilly terrain, it also results in lower land acquisition costs.
Hence, despite having a higher cost of construction per km than roadways, ropeway projects’ construction cost may happen to be economical than roadways.
Faster mode of transportation: Owing to the aerial mode of transportation, ropeways have an advantage over roadway projects where ropeways can be built in a straight line, over a hilly terrain.
Environmentally friendly: Ropeways are sustainable and eco-friendly mode of transportation which run primarily on electricity.
The entire system operates on electro-mechanical components which also drastically reduce the emissions of green-house gases into the atmosphere.
Further, ropeways require minimal land footprint, resulting in minimal tree cutting, minimal requirement of land acquisition and minimal rehabilitation and resettlement.
Last mile connectivity: Ropeway projects can transport 5000 passengers per hour per direction, thus helping provide last mile connectivity to the concerned areas.
BENEFITS OF ROPEWAYS
Employment generation: Ropeway projects shall influence both, direct and in-direct generation of employment.
Improvement in Passenger experience: State-of-the-art passenger amenities & transport facilities shall improve the overall passenger experience.
Congestion reduction: Ropeways shall also assist in de-congestion of traffic in by reduction of usage of private vehicles
Increase in economic activity: Increased mobility of people in in-accessible areas due to ropeways shall increase economic activity.
Boost to tourism: Ropeways themselves are tourist attractions providing a boost to overall tourism of the region.
Logistics improvement: Providing first/last mile connectivity to in-accessible and hilly areas improve the overall logistics & transportation of the region.
EXISTING ROPEWAYS IN INDIA (developed by state
• Girnar Ropeway, Gujarat
• Guwahati Passenger Ropeway, Assam
• Patnitop Ropeway, Jammu
• Gulmarg Ropeway, Jammu
• Mata Vaishno Devi, Jammu
KEY PROJECTS UNDER ‘PARVATMALA
• Varanasi Ropeway, Uttar Pradesh
• Kedarnath Ropeway, Uttarakhand
• Hemkund Sahib Ropeway Uttarakhand
OTHER ROPEWAY PROJECTS
• Shiv Khori Ropeway, Jammu
• Bijli Mahadev Ropeway, Himachal Pradesh
• Mahakal Temple Ropeway, Madhya Pradesh
• Kodachadri hills Ropeway, Karnataka
• Chabimura Ropeway, Tripura
• Leh Palace Ropeway, Ladakh
• Ghaziabad Ropeway, Uttar Pradesh