The much-awaited ropeway project in Shimla, which ran into several delays, is finally set to take off with the start of the groundwork.
The Ropeway and Rapid Transport System Development Corporation (RTDC), a state government corporation has completed the preliminaries for the project.
The new government in the state has directed RTDC to start operation of this project in the next five years.
The Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) under the Ministry of Finance has already given in-principle approval for an innovative urban transport ropeway project worth Rs 1,546.4 crore for Shimla city.
Shimla's Ropeway Project
The ropeway network will have a length of 14.9 km across the city with 15 stations from where the people could board and disembark.
It will start off from Taradevi and would have a combination of smart parkings, lifts and escalators integrated with the existing transport networks.
This project would be a game changer with tourists parking their vehicles at the entry point of Shimla and boarding the ropeway network. This eco-friendly mode of transportation will be a carbon neutral project.
Further, the fare charged on this mode of transportation would be more or less at par with the conventional transportation in order to motivate people to travel on this network instead of using their own vehicles.
The state government has approached the Shanghai-headquartered New Development Bank (NDB) for bilateral funding and is moving forward in this direction.
Shimla, the capital city of Himachal Pradesh, has a population of about 3.08 lakh with annual tourist influx of around 40 lakhs.
The city has narrow roads with heavy settlement, causing traffic snarls. The problem further compounds during the tourist season when thousands of tourist vehicles reach Shimla daily causing huge traffic jams.
Due to geographical and geo-technical limitations, it is not possible to construct bus rapid transit system (BRTS), monorail, or metro in the city. A ropeway, thus, is the only viable solution to provide urban transport.
The state has already an operational Dharamshala Skyway in Kangra district to deal with persistent traffic problems.
Lying beneath the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas, Dharamshala is a famous tourist town and home to the Tibetan Spiritual Guru, the fourteenth Dalai Lama, who is settled down in the upper reaches of the town, known as McLeodganj.
During peak tourist season, the road distance of 9 km from lower Dharamshala to McLeodganj can take unusually long to cover.
Inaugurated on 19 January 2022, the 1.8-km ropeway from Dharamshala to Mcleodganj in Kangra district, has been constructed at Rs 207 crore. This ropeway can carry 1,000 people in one hour in one direction and the total time taken to reach Mcleodganj from Dharamshala is five minutes.
Projects In The Pipeline
The ropeway is an eco-friendly mode of transport which reduces the travel distance sufficiently as in hilly terrain 1 km of ropeway is equivalent to 5-6 kms of road distance.
As such, the Himachal Pradesh government plans to switch to eco-friendly, clean and green mode of transportation in a big way to decongest cities.
The state government is planning to develop similar urban ropeway projects for Dharamshala and Manali.
It has further directed RTDC to make efforts for developing at least one ropeway per district in the next five years for providing connectivity, employment generation as well as enhancing tourism potential.
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