The country’s first “urban ropeway” project will come up in Varanasi by May 2025 and reduce the travel time between the Cantonment railway station and Godowalia Chowk, one of the most congested stretches, to barely 17 minutes.
The work on this project will start by May 2023.
The National Highways Logistics Management Ltd (NHLML), a subsidiary of NHAI, has awarded the project to an Indian company, which has secured the technology and equipment supply from a Swiss firm that specialises in ropeway systems. Officials said the project will cost Rs 815 cr, which includes 15 years maintenance.
The NHLML will decide the ticket price.
According to sources, a policy on ticketing will be framed as the Centre has planned to roll out several such ropeway projects across the country in urban areas and to connect tourist places.
Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation for two ropeways in Uttarakhand — Gaurikund to Kedarnath and Govindghat to Hemkund — and these will also be awarded soon. Bids for another ropeway in Ghaziabad will also be floated soon.
A senior functionary of NHLML said that Indian firm, Vishwa Samudra Engineering and its technology partner Bartholet Maschinenbau AG of Switzerland have bagged the Varanasi ropeway project. The company quoted a bid price of Rs 815.6 crores, which is 17 per cent higher than the estimated bid price.
The ropeway will be developed 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 connectivity project has been designed with a maximum capacity to carry 3,000 passengers per hour per direction (PPHPD) with a total operation time of 16 hours per day. It is capable of carrying a passenger load of about 96,000 passengers per day in both directions. Around 153 gondolas or cabins will be deployed on this stretch and each gondola will have the capacity to carry 10 passengers.
As per the design, five stations will come up on this corridor at Varanasi Cantonment, Vidya Peeth (Bharatmata Mandir), Rath Yatra, Girja Ghar and Godowlia chowk.
Girja Ghar would only be a technical station. Boarding Deboarding will not be allowed at Girja Ghar.
A total of 30 towers will be built for the ropeway and the height of the towers will vary from 10 meters to 55 meters.
The Uttar Pradesh government is acquiring the land for stations and towers. It is also shifting the utilities infringing with the ropeway alignment.