JAMMU, Sept 23: The Passenger Ropeway Project between Mata Vaishno Devi Bhawan and Bhairon Ghati, which was planned several years back to facilitate the pilgrims, is facing time overrun of three years.
According to the sources, on April 18, 2013, the then Governor and Chairman of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, NN Vohra had laid the foundation stone for Bhairon Ghati Passenger Ropeway Project to facilitate the pilgrims who have to undertake an arduous journey from Bhawan to the Bhairon Ghati.
This prestigious project had to be completed within a period of two years at an estimated cost of Rs 54.67 crore but even after the lapse of five years the pilgrims are waiting for this facility. Once completed, this ropeway will carry 900 pilgrims per hour and 45 persons in one go. Moreover, this ropeway will also save time as the pilgrims will be able to cover 1.5 kilometre distance between Bhawan and Bhairon Ghati in just 4 minutes.
Sources said though trial run on this ambitious project was done successfully by the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) in May this year but still it has not been made operational for the pilgrims though holy ‘Navratras’ are very near when the number of pilgrims will increase considerably.
They further said that once the ropeway project gets completed, pilgrims will be able to pay obeisance at Bhaironji Temple which was difficult to visit, particularly for the elderly and specially-abled pilgrims, owing to a steep climb to an altitude of 6,600 feet.
When contacted, Madan Gupta, Chief Engineer, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, said that the project has not yet been completed. “We are waiting for green signal from the company engaged for the task”, he added.
He said “we have to conduct several trial runs on this project. The trial run conducted in May this year was without load and soon we will conduct full load trial run and then passenger load trial run. When the company engineers feel the ropeway is safe and secure in every aspect, it will be opened for the pilgrims”.
Asked about delay in conducting more trials, the Chief Engineer said they are waiting for the nod of the senior engineers of the company, who will be visiting soon to assess all safety aspects of the project. However, the officer did not give any time frame for making the ropeway functional for the pilgrims.