The proposed second ropeway scehduled to be put up at the famed hill shrine in Palani will have enhanced safety and security features and at least twice present carrying capacity.
The process of awarding the contract after floating bids to build the second ropeway is underway with many firms, including several foreign companies, responding to the Expression of Interest (EoI) invite of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department.
The HR&CE Department is keen on having a better technology that could guarantee enhanced safety and security features besides higher passenger carrying capacity in the additional ropeway, sources in the know said.
“It could either be a much better version of the fixed grip reversible jig back (mono cable) ropeway that is now being used or an entirely new technology,” an official said.
Several foreign firms with expertise in ropeway engineering like Austria-based Doppelmayr have responded to the EoI.
Specifics like design, control and engineering will be scrutinised by an expert panel constituted by the State government for the purpose of finalising the second ropeway. The work for the new ropeway is expected to be completed within 2 years after the award of contract, which is likely in 3-4 months.
The new ropeway will be 320 metre in (inclined) length and is expected to carry ‘at least’ 1,200 to 1,400 Persons Per Hour (PPH). The present ropeway carries about 300 people in an hour. The current travel time is five minutes.
The present rope car facility was inaugurated on November 3, 2004. It was built at a cost of Rs 4.8 crore. The number of cable cars and passengers were reduced after an accident on August 26, 2007 in which four persons were killed. The temple also has a winch service.
Service in a Month
The ropeway service at Palani that was suspended following a technical snag, in which 28 pilgrims were trapped and then rescued, is likely to resume in a month. Ruling out lapses on part of the service provider for the snag, an official said that the cable cars were “maintained periodically” as per the maintenance manual.
“It is difficult to foresee such a thing [snag]. In fact, it was the service provider’s trained employees who played an important role in rescuing the passengers,” he added.
The facility is under maintenance now. The service is likely to resume in a month, he said.