GUWAHATI, Aug 26 - Exposing the inefficiency of Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA), the passenger ropeway over the Brahmaputra river, connecting Guwahati and North Guwahati, developed technical snag within 48 hours of its inauguration. The ropeway was inaugurated by Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday in the presence of Guwahati Development Department Minister Siddhartha Bhattacharya. Significantly, a section of people also termed the project as a �fantastic political gimmick� of the ruling party ahead of the Assembly election in the State.
In what has come as a big embarrassment to the GMDA and the State government, besides raising serious questions over the safety of the cable car, the entrance gate of the ropeway site at Kacharai Ghat here was found closed today. When this correspondent visited the site, the security personnel informed that no person, including media professionals, will be allowed to enter the premises as some maintenance works were under way.
Later, GMDA chief executive officer Umananda Doley told this correspondent that the operation of the ropeway has been suspended due to some technical issues caused by electricity voltage fluctuation. He added that direction has been made to Samir Damodar Ropeway Company, which will look after the maintenance work of the project until March 2021, to address the issue immediately.
�Actually the project has received an overwhelming response from the public. Yesterday we ran 37 trips with as many as 648 passengers and many people were in the queue for two-three hours to buy the tickets. Even this morning, we have sold a number of tickets, but later we refunded the money. Fortunately, our staff detected the technical snag before starting the operation,� Doley said.
The GMDA CEO was optimistic that the ropeway will resume its operation by tomorrow. But it will depend upon the nature of snag develop in the system.
It is India�s longest ropeway over a river with a length of 1.82 km and as stated in its official website, for the project GMDA has spent Rs 5,608.20 lakh. Unfortunately, it may also be the first ropeway project in the country which developed technical snag within 48 hours of its inauguration.
Meanwhile, the GMDA and the State government today drew flak from all sections of people after the incident. Many people questioned why the GMDA did not arrange a dedicated power line for the project in view of the frequent power fluctuations experienced in the city. Many people also took to social media and criticised the government for its inefficiency.
�Why cannot the authorities have proper power back-up for such services? It is always a big risk for passengers if they have to remain static over the Brahmaputra due to power failure or inconsistencies. It will be traumatic for them to endure such experiences,� a person said.
Notably, the ropeway project has been facing a number of issues and challenges since the first stage of its initiation. The project got the administrative sanction in 2006 and was scheduled to be commissioned by May 2011. But it hit a roadblock after the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) refused permission for tilt rectification of a trestle.