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Himachal Pradesh scraps Rohtang ropeway project



Updated On - Monday, 09 September 2013

5 September 2013

SHIMLA: Himachal Pradesh cabinet on Wednesday decided to cancel construction of Palchan-Rohtang ropeway project in Kullu district. The proposed ropeway was planned to transport around 9,000 visitors between the two destinations daily to decongest the Manali-Leh road, which during peak season between May and July witnesses heavy rush of tourists.

The project to construct the 9-km-long ropeways connecting Palchan village with the 13,050-feet-high Rohtang Pss was mooted by the previous Bharatiya Janata Party government in 2009. In the cabinet meeting held on July 5 this year, the Congress government itself had decided to ask successful bidders to deposit Project Development Success Fee as per provisions of the Request for Proposal (RFP) document for construction of Bhuntar-Bijli Mahadev and Palchan-Rohtang ropeways.

According to sources, the cabinet now decided to cancel the ropeway project following representation from taxi operators who had feared to lose business with construction of the proposed ropeway till Rohtang Pass. "During the meeting, livelihood issue of taxi operators and other stakeholders to be affected by the ropeway project was discussed at length and it was decided to cancel the project to safeguard the interests of taxi operators and others in the area," sources said.

People in Kullu district, especially in Manali area, were against the idea of constructing a ropeway to Rohtang Pass from the very beginning, claiming it would destroy employment of thousands of people engaged in tourism activities. Not only the taxi operators and shopkeepers, but mahila mandals and yuvak mandals of Manali tehsil too were up in arms against the project. After holding protest demonstrations in July this year, representatives of various organizations had held a meeting in Manali and later submitted a memorandum to the chief minister to shift the ropeway project to nearby sites.

Heavy influx of vehicles is leading to environment pollution at Rohtang, thus causing damage to the fragile ecology, National Environmental Engineering Regional Institute (NEERI) in a report submitted to Himachal Pradesh high court had recommended building a ropeway with intermediate stops at suitable places for better tourism management in the area.

Published by: The Times Of India

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