J&K to plead case before SC’s Empowered Committee today

Construction of passenger aerial ropeway at Patnitop
Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, July 2: With necessary clearance from the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests in hand for passenger aerial ropeway project at Patnitop, State Government is going to plead before the Central Empowered Committee of the Supreme Court tomorrow for vacation of stay on the construction activities at the most famous hill resort of the Jammu region.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that Central Empowered Committee of the Supreme Court headed by P V Jayakrishanan has listed for hearing tomorrow the case of State Government vis-à-vis lifting of ban on construction activities in Patnitop area to facilitate creation of passenger aerial ropeway project.
The vacation of stay, which was granted by the Supreme Court in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) several years back keeping in view environmental degradation at all the famous hill resorts of the country including Patnitop, is imperative to kick-start the project, they said, adding that while pleading case for lifting of ban to pave the way for construction of passenger aerial ropeway, the Patnitop Development Authority (PDA) will elaborate before the Empowered Committee the exercise it has carried out to address the environmental concerns.
The PDA will also apprise the Empowered Committee of the action taken on certain conditions imposed by the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, which granting Environmental Clearance to the project, sources informed.
Optimistic of positive response from the Central Empowered Committee, source said, “if the stay is lifted the Patnitop Development Authority would immediately start work on the execution of the project, which has been mooted to attract more tourists to the picturesque resort of Patnitop”, adding “additional features to attract the tourists at this hill resort are imperative especially when Patnitop area will get cut-off from the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway 1A following completion of Chenani-Nashri tunnel”.
In response to a question vis-à-vis action on the conditions laid down by the EAC, sources said, “all the major concerns of the EAC vis-à-vis collection and disposal of solid waste in proper manner and maintenance of the ecology have already been addressed while as action on remaining issues would be possible only when the construction of passenger aerial ropeway would begin”.
According to the Detailed Project Report (DPR), the project involves construction and operation of a passenger aerial ropeway project and associated facilities at Kud, Sangote and Karlah. The ropeway will pass through compartment 95/C of Dudu Forest Range and is almost one kilometer away from compartment 99 of Sudhmahadev Conservation Reserve.
One base terminal station of the ropeway would be at a point close to the 99 kilometer milestone on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway 1A while as the intermediate terminal will be near Sangote village and the same will be 1269 meter away from the base terminal and at an elevation of 254 meter below the base terminal.
The upper terminal will be at Patnitop close to Hotel Vardan at a distance of 2618 meter from the intermediate terminal and at elevation of 694 meter above the intermediate terminal. The total length of the ropeway will be 2.6 kilometer with 23 trolleys.
The total power requirement for the ropeway has been worked out to be around 750 KVA. For all other activities such as resort, amusement park, shops etc, it is estimated that a further 250 KVA power would be required.
The State Government has already agreed in principle to provide the necessary power at the terminal stations. The total water requirement would be 59 KLD which will be met through the local streams and a rain water harvesting plant has also been proposed to be constructed at village Sangote.
“A total of 124 trees of different species within a corridor of 10 meters (5 meters on either side of the center line of the ropeway) would be axed”, sources said, adding “as the forest exists on both sides of alignment, there is no possibility of adverse effects of wind on the system. However, wind speed meters will be installed at all critical locations”.


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