VARANASI (Metro Rail News): The National Highways Logistics Management Ltd (NHLML), a subsidiary of NHAI, has awarded a contract worth Rs 807 crore (US$16 million) to Vishwa Samudra Engineering Private Limited for the construction of a 3.85 km urban ropeway project in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. This company has obtained the technology and equipment supply from a Swiss company specialising in ropeway systems. After commissioning, the contract order includes 15 years of ropeway system maintenance.
This will be India’s first “urban ropeway project,” to be built in Varanasi, and it is anticipated to begin operations in May 2025. Construction on this project will probably begin by May 2023.
The urban ropeway system will reduce the length of one of the most congested areas, from the Cantonment train station to Godowali Chowk, in only 17 minutes. Due to traffic congestion, the same trip could take longer than an hour.
Five stations will be built as part of this ropeway project. They will be located at the Varanasi Cantonment, Vidya Peeth (Bharatmala Mandir), Rath Yatra, Girja Ghar, and Godowlin Chowk. There will be no boarding or deboarding at Girja Ghar. For the ropeway, 30 towers will be constructed, ranging in height from 10 to 55 metres.
The National Highways Logistics Management Ltd (NHLML), which manages the ropeway, will choose the cost of the tickets. A policy on tickets will be developed as the Center plans to implement numerous such ropeway projects throughout the country in urban areas and to connect tourism destinations.
“The Varanasi ropeway project has been won by Vishwa Samudra Engineering and its technological partner Bartholet Maschinenbau AG of Switzerland. A bid price of Rs 8156 crore was provided by the company, which is 77% more than the projected bid price. The ropeway will be built using a hybrid annuity model (HAM), in which 40% of the project cost will be paid as an annuity during the operation and maintenance phase and 60% of the project cost will be paid as construction assistance during the construction phase,” said an official.
The connectivity project is expected to operate for 16 hours per day and have a maximum capacity to handle 3,000 passengers per hour per direction (PPHPD). A passenger load of approximately 96,000 people per day can be carried by it in both directions. About 153 gondolas or cabins would be used on this route, and each gondola could accommodate ten passengers.
The GEO technical company Sai Geotechnical Engineer Pvt. Ltd., based in Ghaziabad, began geotechnical investigation work for this ropeway project after setting up three rigs at various locations throughout Varanasi.
The Uttar Pradesh government is purchasing the land for towers and ropeway stations.