Ropeway at Patnitop fully commissioned, tourists’ footfall to increase considerably

Govt dilly-dallying on giving nod for commercial operations
Admn fails to provide proper road connectivity, other facilities
Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, June 29: Tourists’ footfall in Sudhmahadev-Mantalai-Sanasar-Bhaderwah circuit is all set to increase considerably as India’s highest and longest European standards certified ropeway has been fully commissioned at Patnitop. Shockingly, the Government is dilly-dallying on giving formal nod for start of commercial operations and providing proper road connectivity and other basic facilities for the project.
On May 9, 2019, EXCELSIOR had exclusively reported that cable car at picturesque destination of Patnitop, which was planned about 15 years back, is all set for the soft launch along with other facilities like Zipline, Tubing Sledge and Magic Carpet by Skyview Patnitop by Empyrean and all these facilities would give big boost to the tourists’ footfall around the year.
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The ropeway at Patnitop was approved by the Board of Directors of Patnitop Development Authority in the month of January 2004. However, it was not followed by the successive Governments with the required vigour as a result of which its fate continued to hang in balance for years together.
Finally, Empyrean Skyview Projects Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of FIL Industries Limited, was awarded the project on Public Private Partnership (PPP) model and it took two and half years to the company for completion of its construction. The lower terminal of the project is at Sanget, three kilometres from Chenani-Nashri Tunnel while as upper terminal is at Patnitop as such the ropeway is easily accessible by the tourists.
“The adventure tourism destination adheres to European safety standards and includes 18 cable cars. The 2.8 kilometres European Standards certified ropeway features the longest span of 849 metres between eight towers with each cabin being able to accommodate eight people”, said Syed Junaid Altaf, Managing Director of Skyview Patnitop while interacting with media-persons at Patnitop during FAM tour.
He disclosed that entire infrastructure including the towers, ropes and cabins has been imported from France through the support of Skyview Patnitop’s technology partner POMA, the world’s leading brand in ropeway transportation.
Stating that project offers world class facility amidst the tranquillity of nature, he said, “I am sure that this facility will significantly change the face of tourism not only in Jammu but in North India”, adding “the much awaited destination which seeks to create a world class tourist destination in J&K also features multi-cuisine restaurants, India’s first zig-zag Zipline, Magic Carpet and various other activities”.
The ropeway prowls between Sanget and Patnitop donning the best of sights, serenity, adventure, thrill, culture and tastes. Skyview Patnitop has played host to more than 5000 people including tour operators, people of Kud, Chenani, Udhampur and large number of students from different educational institutions as part of FAM tour.
Syed Mujtaba Ali Jafary, Head Sales and Marketing of Skyview Patnitop by Empyrean disclosed that Zipline activity has been made available in collaboration with Flying Fox and adventure seekers can look forward to a series of 9 zig-zag zip wires measuring 580 meters with a starting altitude of 1,371 meters and ending altitude of 1344 meters from the sea level.
About Tubing Sledge, he said, “the tube starts at an altitude of 1366 meters and ends at an altitude of 1329 meters from the sea level and features 238 meters of slopes. It adheres to the highest safety standards and includes an extremely efficient braking system”.
The Magic Carpet is a lift or a rocky mountain conveyor system to access numerous activities and the 162 meters of ride to the top will give visitors first-hand access to scenic views of Patnitop.
Though the non-commercial operations of the ropeway are going on during the past many days yet Skyview Patnitop is finding it difficult to start commercial operations as Government has yet not given formal approval for the same on the ground that it doesn’t have mechanism to verify compliance to the European standards.
“This is highly unjustifiable on the part of the Government as technical inspection can be done through a team of experts as is being carried out in the case of ropeway between Mahayama-Peer Kho”, sources said, adding “the dilly-dallying approach is notwithstanding the fact that Skyview Patnitop is in the possession of all the relevant certificates indicating strict compliance to the European standards”.
It was noticed by visiting EXCELSIOR Correspondent that Government has even not started proper maintenance of the road connecting lower terminal of the project while as no proper road connectivity has been provided to the upper terminal till date. The road at lower terminal falls under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) while as Patnitop Development Authority is required to construct road to provide proper connectivity to upper terminal.
Another glaring instance of indifferent attitude towards this project of immense importance which came to the notice of EXCELSIOR was denial of power and water supply connections to the Skyview Patnitop by the concerned Government agencies.
A number of hoteliers at Patnitop, while interacting with EXCELSIOR, expressed anguish over non-cooperation from the Government in start of commercial operations of the project. “It seems that Government doesn’t want tourists’ footfall to increase in this circuit”, they said, adding “the project has the potential to attract large number of tourists during forthcoming Amarnathji Yatra”.
The places which are in proximity to lower terminal station at Sanget are Sudh Mahadev, Gauri Kund and Mantalai, all having religious significance. Similarly, the places which are at a short distance from upper terminal at Patnitop are Nathatop, Madhatop, Sanasar and Batote.
People of the area, who are optimistic about getting employment opportunities following increase in tourists’ footfall, have appealed to the Governor Satya Pal Malik to accord sanction to the start of commercial operations of the project.