Tribune News Service
Dharamsala, April 18
The failure of the state forest authorities to provide clearance for constructing multilevel parking on 0.72 hectare forest land for the Dharamsala-McLeodganj ropeway is threatening the viability of the project.
TATA ropeways that would connect Dharamsala with McLoedganj is nearing completion. As per the planning, the project is scheduled to be tentatively commissioned by June 2021. However, the company executing the ropeway project is concerned that it would not be able to operate the ropeway due to lack of parking.
Despite the fact that the Dharamsala-McLeodganj ropeway was a major project in the region involving an investment of Rs 200 crores, the officials concerned have shown no urgency in meeting government commitment. The MoU for constructing the ropeway was signed between government and TATA Reality and Infrastructure Ltd. in the year 2015. As per MoU the government, under the Smart City project was to construct multilevel parking near take off point of ropeway in Dharamsala.
The TATA authorities took all clearances form forest department for developing the ropeway in the year 2017. The construction was started in the same year. However, the government authorities did not process the case for creating the parking. The ropeway project was expected to complete by June 2020 but it was delayed by a year due to Covid lockdown.
Though the ropeway is ready the Smart City project authorities are yet to tender the work for construction of parking.
Deputy Commissioner Kangra, Rakesh Prajapati, when contacted, said that the state forest authorities were preparing the case for transfer of 0.72 hectare forest land for constructing parking near take off point of ropeway. The case would then be sent to the union ministry for environment and forest for clearance. The Smart City project has kept Rs 18 crores for the construction of multi-level parking and tender would be issued once forest clearance was received.
When asked about the inordinate delay in forest clearance for parking land he said matter was expedited.
Sources here said that the TATA project managers were lobbying hard with the government authorities to get a parking lot near the ropeway take off site in Dharamsala. The authorities of TATA ropeways fear that since the approach to ropeway was very narrow and there was hardly any parking very few tourists would use it.
The project manager of TATA Ropeways here, Praveen Upathaya, when contacted, said that he had recently met the municipal commissioner, Dharamsala, and district authorities to sort out the parking issue. They have assured that parking place near take off site would be provided. They have also assured that the process of forest clearance for constructing the permanent parking would be expedited. “We are trying to launch the project in June”, he said.
Notably, the Dharamsala-McLeodganj ropeway would consist of 18 gandolas. Each gandola would be able to carry eight people at a time. The ropeway would have the capacity to carry 800 per persons per hour.
Timeline for project
- MoU for the project was signed between the government and TATA Infrastructure and Reality Ltd in the year 2015
- As per the MoU, parking near the take off point was to be constructed by government under Smart City project
- TATA obtains forest clearance for ropeway, starts work in 2017
- Project was expected to complete by June 2020 but got delayed due to Covid lockdown
- TATA to complete work of ropeway construction by June 2021
- The government yet to get forest clearance for 0.72 hectare land to construct the parking
- File still pending with forest officials of the state department
- Smart City project has kept Rs18 crore and waiting for forest clearance to tender the work for construction of parking