GUWAHATI: India’s longest river ropeway service was launched over the Brahmaputra in Guwahati on Monday.
The ropeway is 1.82-km-long and the distance can be covered in 8-9 minutes. There are two cabins and each can carry 32 passengers at a time. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, only 15 people will be allowed for the time being, the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority, which executed the project, said.
The one-way ride will cost one Rs 60 while the fare for a two-way commute will be Rs 100. The project, which entailed a cost of Rs 56.8 crore, was constructed using Swiss technology.
The work started in 2006 but due to alleged politics, the project was virtually abandoned after 2011. The service will do a world of good to people, especially those living in North Guwahati. They suffer a lot during every flood when the ferry services remain suspended on the Brahmaputra. Travel by road to reach Guwahati not only takes a lot of time, but it also pinches one’s pocket.
The project was conceptualised during Himanta Biswa Sarma’s tenure as the Minister of Guwahati Development Department (GDD) during 2001-06. He is now the state’s Minister of Finance and other departments.
Inaugurating the project, he said on Monday that a long-cherished dream had come true.
“When we used to visit a hill station and find the ropeway service, we used to think Assam doesn’t have one. It is now among states that have ropeway services. It’s a golden day for modern Assam and Guwahati. As the local MLA, it was my duty to ensure the ease of transport between Guwahati and North Guwahati,” Sarma said.
He said back in 2003, he had held discussions with the then Kamrup (Metro) District Magistrate on the feasibility of a ropeway project over the Brahmaputra to connect Guwahati with North Guwahati.
“We had started the project in 2006 and wanted to finish it by 2011. Midway, some technical issues cropped up. The Archaeological Survey of India told us about the introduction of some new rules vis-à-vis ropeway construction. After necessary clearance, the work resumed…
“However, from 2011, projects related to my Jalukbari constituency started getting blocked. As such, the ropeway project had reached the stage of abandonment. I had approached the then Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and GDD Minister Ajanta Neog to seek their help but nothing happened. Once, the matter reached the Gauhati High Court. We resumed the work when I got the responsibility of GDD in 2016,” the Minister added.