Varanasi, India (Urban Transport News): The National Highways Logistics Management Ltd (NHLML), a subsidiary of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), has invited bids for the development of the first ropeway project for city commuters in India.
According to the notification, the Varanasi Development Authority (VDA) has planned to launch a pilot project covering a total distance of a 3.8-kilometer ropeway link connecting Varanasi’s Cantonment Railway Station and Godowlia Chowk with an investment of Rs 461 crore.
The ropeway system will work as first and last-mile connectivity and will enable passengers to travel 3.8 km in just 17 minutes. A total of 218 cable cars will be deployed on the proposed Ropeway system to ensure the frequency of this service in less than a minute. Each cable car will have 10 seats and at full capacity, around 9,000 people will be able to travel in one hour in both directions (up & down).
The cable cars will move in a gap of 90 seconds to 120 seconds. Around 4,500 people will be able to travel in one direction at a time. The ropeway service will also operate during the night.
The selected bidder will be responsible for the completion of the ropeway project in three years and maintain and operate the project for 15 years, as said in the tender document.
"The bidder will ensure the stations and cable cars used in this project are disabled-friendly. All facilities must be designed to accommodate wheelchairs, baby prams and prosthetics. The cable cars will also have to be equipped with public address systems and have a passenger information system that uses visual displays to enable hearing-impaired passengers to access information," mentioned in the tender document.
According to the plan, this first ropeway project will be developed under a ‘hybrid annuity model’ where the government will make a part of the payment upfront to the successful bidder during the construction stage and the remaining amount will be paid in installments over certain years. The cost of the project will be divided between the Centre and the state government at a ratio of 80:20.
The 3.8 km ropeway link will have five stations — Varanasi Cantonment station, Vidya Peeth, Rath Yatra, Girja Ghar and Godowlia Chowk.
WAPCOS, a government-owned firm is providing consultancy services to VDA with the conceptualization of the ropeway project in the city.