You can take ropeway to Haji Malang shrine in Kalyan, Thane from April
After missing several deadlines, cost of the project has escalated to Rs93 crore from Rs10.42 crore in 4 yearsmumbai Updated: Jan 20, 2018 00:27 IST
In a relief to devotees especially senior citizens who have to walk up to four kilometres to reach Haji Malang shrine near Kalyan, the public works department (PWD) plans to open the much-awaited funicular ropeway to pilgrims by March.
The PWD has missed four deadlines since 2015, the latest being October 2017. The Malanggad hill is being cut to make way for the 1.2-km two-way ropeway.
The foundation stone was laid in February 2013 and the PWD started the work in October 2013. The aim of the project was to develop the hills into a tourist spot.
Last year in April when Thane guardian minister Eknath Shinde and Kalyan MP Shrikant Shinde visited the spot, officials promised that the project will be completed in six months — a deadline that was missed. In the last four years, the cost has escalated to Rs93 crore from Rs10.42 crore.
“My family and I visit the shrine from Nashik every year. It becomes very difficult to climb the hill and reach the shrine. Once we come here, we don’t feel like travelling back the same day. With the ropeway and accommodation on the hill, it will be very useful for us to stay overnight,” said Baba Siddique, 45, a devotee.
According to the plan, the bottom and top parts of the hill will have several facilities such as a refreshment area, accommodation and a parking lot.
“The project will make the entire Thane district proud. The delay has raised concerns over the importance given to historical places. The government should focus on promoting tourism across the state and Haji Malang is one of the best places to start with,” said Sameer Ahmed Khan, 30, a resident of Haji Malang.
Currently, around 90% of the work has been completed, claimed the authorities. “The remaining work will be completed in the next two months. By March, the ropeway trolley will be operational,” said Rizwan Khan, consultant of the project appointed by the PWD.
“The trolley will pass through 99 pillars, of them 90 have been completed,” Khan said.
Of the 1.2 km stretch, the work for 100 meter stretch is pending.
According to the authorities, one of the major reasons for the delay is the cutting of the hill. “The hill cutting needs to be done very carefully. It took time during the monsoon,” added Khan.
The PWD has appointed Supreme Infrastructure to carry out the project on a BOT (build-operate-transfer) basis for 24 years.
“It is a dream project as pilgrims have keenly been asking about it. Inspired by Norway, the project was studied by few of our ministers. Once completed, it will attract many visitors,” said Zahir Ahmad Shaikh, general manager execution, Supreme Infrastructure.