The National Forest Council (NFC) on Monday cleared state government’s proposal to build a funicular ropeway for Haji Malang shrine, a first-of-its-kind in Maharashtra.
The tomb of the revered Sufi saint Haji Baba Abdur Rehman Malang at Thane district attracts devotees from all communities.
The two-trolley ropeway with a carrying capacity of 60 persons each will make it easier to climb up the 415m hillock (approximately 2,600-odd steps) where the shrine is located. It is expected to be ready in two years.
In an hour, the ropeway will be able to ferry 390 passengers in both directions. The ropeway will function between two stations 6 km apart, one at the base and the other at the shrine.
The state’s public works department had been pursuing clearances for this project since 2007. Along with the electric ropeway, the public works department will build trolley stations, public parking spaces and emergency evacuation routes.
The ropeway project estimated to cost Rs46 crore will be implemented on a Built-Operate-Transfer (B-O-T) basis. The ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) had approved this project in 2008 but since this shrine was located in the Matheran eco-sensitive zone, it required a clearance from the Matheran monitoring committee and the NFC. The Matheran monitoring committee had also give its clearance in January this year.