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Guwahati All Set to Start India's Longest River Ropeway Across Mighty Brahmaputra

The passengers’ cabin for the cable cars have been imported from Switzerland and renowned designer Garaventa AG has offered technical support for designing the profile of the ropeway.

Pranjal Baruah | News18.com

Updated:March 10, 2019, 9:03 AM IST
Guwahati All Set to Start India's Longest River Ropeway Across Mighty Brahmaputra
Photo of the ropeway across Brahmaputra river in Guwahati (News18)

Guwahati: After India's longest rail-cum-road Bogibeel bridge, Assam is all set to start India’s ‘longest river ropeway’ in the capital city of Guwahati soon. Aiming to bring the two banks of the Brahmaputra River in the city closer, the ropeway with its total length of approximately 2 kilometers will be operational from Kachari Ghat of Panbazaar on the south bank of the city to the northern bank of Dol Govinda Temple within few weeks.

The much-awaited project over the Brahmaputra River was proposed to facilitate commuters from both the banks to cross it faster and without any hassle. It was a long pending demand from the people living in both the banks of the river who have been either taking the road via the Saraighat bridges or boat rides to reach on the other side.

Usually, a commuter needs over an hour or at least half an hour to cross the river by roadway and waterway respectively. But with the ropeway being operational, at least 25-28 passengers in a single cable car can fly above the river to reach the other bank in just 8 minutes. Being a two-track ropeway, it’s believed that during peak hours average 250 people will be able to cross the river every hour. In order to ensure the safety of the passengers, an extra reserved line for the cable car has also been kept in case of any technical issues.

For Jupitora Saikia, a student of Cotton State University who lost her friend in a boat tragedy in Brahmaputra River here, the ropeway could have avoided the tragedy. “My friend Ankita and another girl from our university died in the boat capsize incident last year. They would have been alive if the ropeway was there. But nevertheless, since it’s almost ready to serve people, I’m sure for people from both the banks of the river, it’ll be of great help,” she said.

In September 2018, three people were killed including Ankita when a ‘bhut-bhuti’, a mechanized country boat fitted with an engine, carrying over 40 passengers capsized in the Brahmaputra. Survivors continue to live under trauma.

Mukul Das, a lawyer in Gauhati high court, believes that the ropeway will definitely be a relief. “Everyday, I take the boat rides to go to work and then to return. It’s not only time consuming but risky at the same time, because not many boats have a full safety mechanism. Weather also plays foul at times. But with the ropeway, it will be far easy and convenient for everyday commuters like me to go to their work, study or anything else. I’m sure it’s also going to serve tourism purpose simultaneously,” said Das who travels from Barua chowk in North Guwahati to the court campus on the other side regularly.

Besides, shortening the travel time, these cable cars will also offer stunning aerial views of the surroundings, Brahmaputra River, Urvashi Island, Umananda Temple, and the Peacock Island on its way. The passengers’ cabin for the cable cars have been imported from Switzerland and renowned designer Garaventa AG of Switzerland has offered technical support for designing the profile of the ropeway.

The Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) who undertook the project believes that the ropeway will be functional shortly. “The first trial run of the ropeway was conducted on March 5. Except for the support infrastructures like the lift, the parking lot on both sides and ticket counters, over 90 percent of the works are completed,” said a senior GMDA engineer monitoring the site works.

While the lower terminal of the ropeway will be at Kachari Ghat in Panbazar, the upper terminal will be at Rajadwar behind the Dol Govinda Temple in North Guwahati. There will be a parking facility for 70 cars and 80 two-wheelers at both the terminals. Ticket rates are yet to be fixed yet.

Though the ropeway project was assigned to GMDA in 2006 with an estimated budget of Rs 27.73 crores and was scheduled to be commissioned by May 2011, the delay escalated the cost to Rs 56.08 crores.

Ashok Singhal, GMDA Chairman said, “The construction work for the ropeway project had started in 2009 and some technical issues popped up in between. A pillar tilted at first due to flood waves followed by some pending clearance from the archaeological department due to which the project suffered a delay. Soon after the formation of the new state government, the project work accelerated and now it’ll soon be operational.”

Construction work for the project, almost half completed in 2011, came to a halt following objections from the Archeological Survey of India, which said that it would pose a threat to the historic Urvashi Island. Later the basic structure was redesigned and work began in January 2017.

But that’s not all! Guwahati plans to have one more ropeway from the foothills of the Nilachal Hills to the Kamakhya temple atop. The state government has already earmarked Rs 33 crore for the project.

| Edited by: Aditya Sharma
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