A total of 256 ropeway projects have been proposed by various state governments for consideration under Parvatmala Yojana.
This information was given by the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, in a written reply to the Lok Sabha, on 8 November.
Both northern and north-eastern hilly states have submitted the maximum number of projects. This includes 49 projects in Uttarakhand, five in Himachal Pradesh and 18 in Jammu and Kashmir.
Among north-eastern states, Nagaland has submitted a maximum of 13 projects followed by five each in Assam and Mizoram, four each in Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura, three in Manipur and one by Sikkim.
Andhra Pradesh has 26 projects followed by Kerala with 24 projects, Tamil Nadu with 22 projects and Karnataka with 15 projects.
Among other states, Maharashtra has proposed 20 projects followed by Madhya Pradesh with 17 projects, Gujarat with 11 projects, Uttar Pradesh with eight projects, five projects by Punjab and one project by Haryana.
Notably, the big states of Bihar, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Telangana have not submitted any project for consideration under the scheme.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while presenting Union Budget for 2022-23, had announced the National Ropeways Development Programme “Parvatmala”.
The ropeway will be a preferred, ecologically sustainable alternative in place of conventional roads in difficult hilly areas. The idea is to improve connectivity and convenience for commuters, besides promoting tourism.
The ropeway can be used to connect pilgrim places and may also cover congested urban areas, where conventional mass transit systems are not feasible.
The programme will be taken up on a public-private partnership (PPP) model and is initially being rolled out in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Jammu and Kashmir and the other north-eastern states.
MoU With NHLML
As per the scheme, National Highways Logistics Management Limited (NHLML) has been mandated to implement feasible ropeway projects out of priority list of proposals submitted by the state governments.
State governments are required to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NHLML for the development of ropeway networks.
The MoU is expected to bring effective implementation, development, construction, operation and maintenance of the identified projects.
NHLML is a 100 per cent owned Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for infrastructure development, including implementation of the ropeways projects.
So far, Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Assam and Andhra Pradesh, have inked MoU with NHLML for construction of ropeways under the ambitious Parvatmala Yojana.
The Ministry has prioritized eight Ropeway projects worth Rs 4,000 crore to develop 60 km length under the Parvatmala Scheme in FY 2022-23.
The NHAI has already invited bids for the following routes:
Sonprayag-Gaurikund-Kedarnath in Uttarakhand
Govind Ghat-Ghangaria-Hemkund Sahib Uttarakhand
Varanasi Cantonment Railway Station to Godowlia Chowk in Uttar Pradesh
Ujjain Jn Railway Station to Mahakaleshwar Temple in Madhya Pradesh
Nature Park (Mohal) to Bijli Mahadev Temple in Kullu in Himachal Pradesh
All these ropeway projects are being executed on Hybrid Annuity Mode (HAM) wherein 60 per cent of the project cost will be paid as a construction support during the construction period and the remaining 40 per cent will be paid as annuity during the operation and maintenance period.
The NHLML has recently awarded the Varanasi ropeway project to an Indian firm, Vishwa Samudra Engineering and its technology partner Bartholet Maschinenbau AG of Switzerland.
Varanasi’s ropeway project is the country’s first “urban ropeway” project which will reduce the travel time between the Cantonment railway station and Godowlia Chowk, one of the most congested stretches, to barely 17 minutes.
Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation for two ropeways in Uttarakhand - Gaurikund to Kedarnath and Govind Ghat to Hemkund - and these will also be awarded soon.
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