City ropeway to start functioning from Feb 2019
The long pending Guwahati passenger ropeway project connecting the northern and southern banks of the city will be completed by February 2019.
A source in Guwahati Metropolitan Developmental Authority (GMDA) said, “The construction work of the new Foundation Well Number 2 is almost complete and the trial run of the ropeway will start from February 2019.”
The project was scheduled to have been commissioned in May, 2011, but work was stopped by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in February, 2011. Permission for tilt rectification of Foundation Well Number 2 (Pillar T-2) was not given at Urvashi Island.
The GMDA got the permission in 2015 but with the condition of relocating the pillar (T-2) beyond 300 metres of the Urvashi Island.
Accordingly, the pillar has been constructed at the south bank (near Kamrup Metro Deputy Commissioner’s office), and construction work for the other four pillars has almost been completed, the GMDA source added.
The distance of the ropeway will be 1.8 kilometres with the south bank station inside the forest campus near Kamrup Metro Deputy Commissioner’s office and the north bank station at a hillock behind Doul Govinda temple. There will be two cabins with a passenger carrying capacity of 30 persons in each.
In 2008, Samir Damodor Ropeways Pvt Ltd was awarded the construction work on turnkey design and execution basis and the same agency has been continuing the work.
The GMDA source said that though the permission to continue with the ropeway project was received from the Centre in 2015, the then state government did not immediately sanction the funds. After the new government came to power, the project was put on the priority list, he added.
The source also said that during the monsoon season it was difficult to continue with the work as the water level of the river remained high causing delays.
The ropeway project was earlier assigned to GMDA in 2006. RITES Limited, a Govt. of India enterprise which is an engineering consultancy company specializing in the field of transport infrastructure, prepared a Detailed Project Report (DPR) in 2006. The foundation stone of the project was laid on 4th December, 2009. ropeway was stalled in February, 2011 but work resumed in 2016.
Extra Rs 28 crores to be invested in the project
The ropeway project was assigned to Guwahati Metropolitan Developmental Authority (GMDA) in 2006 with an estimated budget of Rs 27.73 crores but an extra Rs 28 crores will be required to complete the project.
The estimated budget of the project has increased from Rs 27.73 crores to Rs 55.73 crores. GMDA had, till 2011, spent Rs 22 crores in the project.
A GMDA source said, “By November, 2011 imported equipments worth Rs 7.5 crores had arrived,” adding that around Rs 22 crores was spent till then in constructing the foundations of the pillars including the now discarded Well Number 2 (old pillar T-2).
Explaining the need for the extra budget, the source said that since the work resumed in 2016, Rs 12.24 crores was used for construction of pillars with the new increased height which is 600 meters now. Earlier the height of the ropeway was estimated at 400 meters. And Rs 3.12 crores was used to procure additional ropeway components, the source claimed.
He also explained that in the initial estimated budget, the expenses for development of the stations were not estimated. Therefore, a good amount of money would be required for construction of roads, parking lots and other station development requirements, the source explained.
The Ropeway Timeline:
- The ropeway project was assigned to GMDA in 2006 with an administrative sanction of Rs 27.73 crores
- GMDA was asked to engage IIT-Guwahati or RITES Ltd as consultant for preparation of the Detailed Project Report (DPR) and for project management services
- RITES Ltd prepared a DPR in 2006
- The alignment, as finalized, would pass over Umananda Island connecting the south bank inside Forest Campus near the DC Office to the north bank at the hillock behind the Doul Gobinda Temple with due consideration of the heritage status of Urvasi and Umananda islands
- In 2008, M/s Samir Damodor Ropeways Pvt Ltd was awarded the construction work on turnkey design & execution basis
- The foundation stone of the above project was laid on 4th December, 2009 by the then Chief Minister of Assam and construction started thereafter
- The ropeway was scheduled to be commissioned by May, 2011, but could not be carried forward because of stoppage of work by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in February, 2011 which disallowed permission for the tilt rectification of Well Foundation No-2 from Urvashi Island citing introduction of new ASI Act, 2010
- By November, 2011 all imported equipments worth Rs7.5 crores had arrived
- An amount of Rs 22 crores was spent till then
- 72% of work was completed till February, 2011
- A proposal was submitted for NOC by GMDA on 15 July 2014 to the competent authority
- National Monuments Authority (NMA) rejected the NOC application they received through the competent authority on 13th October 2014
- Competent authority informed GMDA that the application was rejected on 31st October 2014
- In April 2015, NMA granted permission to GMDA to go ahead with the project
- GMDA approached the then Congress government for additional funds to resume the work on the project but failed to get any response
- The new government, after taking charge, put the project on the priority list
- An additional Rs 28 crores will be required to complete the project in all aspects
- The construction of all the foundation pillars are almost complete
- The trial run is to start by February 2019
- Guwahati Metropolitan Developmental Authority (GMDA)
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