Even as Shimla awaits completion of its first ropeway connecting it to Jakhu, Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh on Tuesday laid the foundation stone of another ropeway connecting the Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT) to Mall road.
The `200 crore passenger ropeway will have four stations along its total length of 3,600 metres and is expected to be completed within three and a half years.
The project is being undertaken by Usha Breco, an Usha Martin group company, and will cater to 1,000 passengers per hour per direction. Usha Martin is one of the world's largest wire rope manufacturers and a leading specialty steel producer in the country.
The chief minister said on completion, the project would improve the transport and tourism infrastructure and ease traffic congestion in Shimla. Besides, the ropeway would provide safe, economical and comfortable mode of transportation to tourists and local population.
He said the government was committed to strengthen tourism in the state, with particular emphasis on adventure and religious tourism.
For this, the CM said, a `200 crore Himani-Chamunda aerial ropeway project at Chamunda temple near Dharamsala town had also been launched. The ropeway, which would reduce the four-hour arduous journey to the ancient temple located high in the Dhauladhar hills to an 18-minute joyride, will be completed in two years.
Shimla municipal corporation (SMC) commissioner Pankaj Rai said the MC would earn `10.62 crore annually from the ropeway, to be built on build-operate-transfer basis, with an increase of 5% every year.
The chief minister also inaugurated the Nigam Suvidha Kendra at the deputy commissioner's office in Shimla. The main purpose of the kendra is to implement the Himachal Pradesh Service Guarantee Act 2011.
On the occasion, industries minister Mukesh Agnihotri, urban development minister Sudhir Sharma, mayor Sanjay Chauhan, deputy mayor Tikendar Panwar and deputy commissioner Dinesh Malhotra were present.
Shimla's first ropeway project, Jakhu cable ropeway, was proposed in 1980s to join Jakhu temple with Shimla. Its foundation stone was laid by Virbhadra in July 2007. But the project has been hanging fire till date for various reasons.