Govt fails to apprise HC about time-frame for inauguration of Jammu Ropeway Project

Pre-commissioning trials yet to be completed
Notice issued to GVR Infra for abandoning work on artificial lake

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Dec 6: Government has failed to apprise Division Bench of the State High Court about the specific time-frame for the completion and inauguration of much-hyped Jammu Ropeway even after claiming fast pace of work on the project, which has huge potential to attract tourists and improve economy of Jammu. It has simply conveyed that pre-commissioning trials will be conducted in the third week of this month.
In a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) titled Inderjeet Khajuria Versus State of Jammu and Kashmir and Others, Division Bench of the State High Court comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal on November 20, 2018 had specifically directed that a status report regarding the date on which the Jammu Ropeway Project is expected to be inaugurated shall be filed within one week by the Divisional Commissioner Jammu as well as Jammu and Kashmir State Cable Car Corporation.
The direction was passed after the assurance from the Divisional Commissioner that the project will be completed at the earliest. It was also submitted by the Divisional Commissioner on last date of hearing that certain steps regarding constitution of a committee in accordance with the applicable law as well as the completion of the ancillary facilities including the approach to the project have either been taken or being initiated.
However, when the PIL again came up for hearing, Shamim Ahmed Wani, Managing Director of J&K State Cable Car Corporation Limited submitted before the Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Tashi Rabstan through Additional Advocate General F A Natnoo that pre-commissioning trials for Section-II (Bahu to Mahamaya Park) were carried out in the month of October 2018.
“The pre-commissioning trials for Section-I (Peerkho to Mahamaya Park) shall be carried out in the 3rd week of December. The trials could have been done three weeks ago but the impediments of Forest and Revenue Departments made the delay which is now being sorted out”, the MD Cable Car Corporation further submitted.
However, no specific date for inauguration of the project as was directed vide order dated November 20, 2018 was conveyed to the Division Bench. This clearly indicates that even Divisional Commissioner and J&K Cable Car Corporation don’t know when the project will be dedicated to the people.
It is pertinent to mention here that Section-I of Jammu Ropeway Project is 1184 meters long while as length of Section-II is 477 meters and its cabins have been supplied by Switzerland based company.
About another important project of Jammu-artificial lake, the Division Bench was apprised by the Irrigation and Flood Control Department that 85% of the work for design and construction of barrage across River Tawi at Beli Charana has already been completed but because of abandoning of work by EPC contractor-M/s GVR Infra Projects Limited, Chennai no further progress could be made.
“Keeping in view abandoning of work for unspecified period the Government had initiated the steps for termination of contract but the company challenged the same in arbitration petition before Madras High Court, which has restrained the Irrigation and Flood Control Department of the State from proceeding further vis-a-vis termination of contract”, the DB was apprised.
It was further submitted that the completion of the gated barrage could not be matured on targeted date and consequently the artificial lake which was to be constructed by the Tourism Department and for which construction and completion of gated barrage is sine-quo-non could not be finalized.
In view of the issues urgently pressed before it and on the request of Senior Advocate B S Slathia appearing for the PIL, the Division Bench headed by Chief Justice impleaded M/s GVR Infra Projects Limited as party respondent and issued notice to the company through registered post as well as ordinary post returnable by December 26, 2018.
Now, the PIL has been listed on December 26, 2018 when the Division Bench will ascertain the progress made by the J&K Cable Car Corporation on Jammu Ropeway Project and response of M/s GVR Infra Projects Limited on abandoning of artificial lake project.