VDA turns to WAPCOS for Kashi Ropeway Project
Varanasi, April 26 (IANS) The Varanasi Development Authority (VDA) has now asked the consultant company - WAPCOS Limited - an accredited public sector enterprise under the Union ministry of Jal Shakti which had finalised the plan of pilot phase project of ropeway, to re-study the alignment and feasibility of the project.
This comes after no developer had taken part in the bidding process despite the dates being repeatedly extended by the VDA.
The VDA has also sought help from the Union government to rope in the National Highway Authority of India's National Highway Logistic Management Company Limits (NHLMCL) to execute the project.
Divisional commissioner and VDA chairman Deepak Agrawal said, "Mainly, the issues of underground pipelines and other assets have forced the revision of the alignment of the ropeway. Shifting these pipelines and other underground assets for construction of pillars of the ropeway can prove to be a time-taking process. Hence, it was decided to adopt a new alignment for which no such shifting is required."
"However, the ropeway for the public transport system will soon be a reality in Kashi and a number of stations proposed in the pilot phase would also not change," claimed Agrawal.
Providing details of the developments, VDA vice - chairperson Isha Duhan said, "After the completion of the basic exercises, the tender for selecting a developer to execute the project on public private partnership model was floated in November 2021.
"The state cabinet approved the ropeway project for Varanasi in December 2021. In the pre-bidding meet, many leading global ropeway and ski-lift manufacturers from the US, Austria, France and Malaysia had taken part and displayed interest in executing the Rs 410-crore ambitious ropeway venture in Kashi."
She added, "However, despite extending the last date for tender filing till March 15, no developer took part."
The VDA, thereafter, decided to rework the alignment of proposed ropeway and examine the technical feasibility.
Duhan said, "A fresh Lidar survey had been launched to revise the alignment. Apart from WAPCOS, a decision for roping in more consultants to make the project financially viable has also been taken. The VDA has written a letter to the Union ministry of urban and housing development to seek help for roping in NHLMCL in this regard."
Duhan said that after the completion of the fresh survey for finalising alignment of the ropeway and its technical feasibility, and okaying of the decision of roping in NHLMCL and the Railway Board, the process of floating the tender for the ropeway project would soon be started again.
The VDA had decided to use the ropeway as a public transport system in Kashi following the rejection of the Metro rail plan in June 2018.
In the pilot phase of the ropeway project of Rs 410 crores, operation of cable cars was proposed between Varanasi Junction and Girijaghar crossing (Godowlia) via Rathyatra. Operation of 220 cable cars with facilities like escalator-equipped stations was also proposed.