GUWAHATI, March 5 - Construction activities for the ambitious Rs 56 crore Guwahati Ropeway Project to connect Guwahati with North Guwahati via a ropeway over the river Brahmaputra, have been resumed. So far, 85 per cent progress has been made in its construction. It is expected to be ready within this year.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) Varnali Deka told this newspaper that the present State Government in its budget this year has declared the project as a priority one.
According to (GMDA) sources, construction works of new Well foundation for the ropeway trestle (T) number - 2 on the bed of the Brahmaputra River has already been started by M/S Gammon India Ltd in January this year. The physical progress made in this respect is about 30 per cent. Gammon India Ltd has been awarded this particular work through a competitive bidding process at the quoted price of Rs 12.25 crore.
It needs mention here that, earlier the well foundation of the T-2 got tilted during the construction stage and its rectification was not allowed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as this well falls within a distance of 220 metres from the protected archaeological monument of Urvashi Island.
The project was reviewed by a high level committee constituted by the State Government. On recommendation of this committee, GMDA submitted a revised proposal to the National Monument Authority (NMA) by shifting the T-2 well location beyond the ASI jurisdiction area. The NMA recommended grant of NOC to the project on April 10, 2015.
GMDA has so far obtained a total financial sanction of Rs 46.188 crore for construction of the ropeway. Till date an amount of around Rs 26.06 crore has been spent on the project, sources said.
The project was initially taken up in 2003 by the Deputy Commissioner of Kamrup (Metro) and tender for it was invited by the Deputy Commissioner's office. It was later assigned to the GMDA in 2006 by the State Government with an administrative approval of Rs 27.73 crore.
RITES Ltd, a Union Government undertaking, prepared the detailed project report (DPR) of the project in 2006. As per the DPR, the ropeway is 1,820- metre-long, it has two terminals. Its lower terminal is located at Panbazar, on the bank of the Brahmaputra, opposite the Nehru Park and its upper terminal is located at Rajaduwar Village, behind the Doulgovinda Temple in North Guwahati.
The ropeway is designed with five trestles - one each at the lower and upper terminals, one on the Umananda Island and two on the river bed of the Brahmaputra. The travel time to be required by the ropeway for crossing the river is fixed to be at 436 seconds, that is 7.26 minutes. The ropeway can carry 250 persons per hour. It has the capacity to carry 30 persons per trip.
The NOC from the National Water Authority of India (NWAI) for navigational clearance was obtained for the project on May 13, 2009. Environmental clearance for it was obtained from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest on October 29, 2010, sources said.
The project was awarded to M/S Samir Damodar Ropeways Pvt Ltd for construction on turnkey design and execution basis at the cost of Rs 28.17 crore, through competitive bidding, in June, 2008. By November, 2011, all imported equipment for the project arrived, sources said.
M/s Garavanta, AG, a renowned Switzerland based Ropeway Design and Manufacturing company is associated with the project for Profile design, rescue arrangement and for issue of Safety Certificate for passenger operation. The installation and commissioning of the Ropeway shall be under the supervision of Swiss Engineers apart from RITES as project management consultant.
The project was initially scheduled to be commissioned in May, 2011. But it was not possible, as, the work was stopped in February, 2011, following refusal by the ASI to issue the NOC. The project was abandoned since then.
Though the NMA recommended grant of NOC to the project on April 10, 2015, the project work couldn't be started because of the fund constraints and the impacts of the change of the T-2 well location on the design of the project. The new State Government allocated Rs 28.36 crore as additional cost to complete the project during the current financial year. Works on the project in all other fronts also started in January this year, sources said.