Lucknow: Pilgrims to Ayodhya are set to have an easier access to the Ram Mandir that is currently under construction, through a ropeway from the railway station, bus stand and the proposed airport.
The ropeway project, worth about Rs 1,200 crore, has been handed to Swiss tourism company Doppelmayr, a specialist in ropeways and elevators, which had submitted a detailed presentation to Uttar Pradesh Tourism Minister Neelkanth Tiwari. The Ayodhya Development Authority (ADA) has entrusted responsibility of the project to the tourism department.
The ropeway is being developed primarily because of the lack of ground space and narrow streets in the ancient town, according to Vishal Singh, commissioner of the Ayodhya Municipal Corporation and vice-chairman of the ADA. It will be a quicker way to reach the Ram Mandir — in as little as 10-15 minutes.
Details of the project
The proposed ropeway will be wider than others operating in other parts of the world, with a higher seating capacity of 20-25 people in a single ‘rope-bus’. According to a UP tourism official, there are several such large ropeways in European countries.
Vishal Singh said the elevated ropeway will have very wide seating boxes to take the pressure off the roads, but he insisted the tourist traffic would continue to be primarily ground-based.
Independent ropeway consultant Amit Bansal, who is associated with this project, said it’s a misconception that ropeways can only be used to commute in hilly terrain. “In many European countries, ropeways are also used in narrow city lanes in Europe. Metro projects are considered very expensive, so ropeways become a cost-effective alternative.”
Bansal added: “There are different cabin sizes with a capacity of eight to 35 people. The larger the cabin size, the higher the project cost would be. But the distance between the Ram temple and the proposed airport in Ayodhya could be covered in a short duration of 10 to 15 minutes.”
Connecting the airport and bus stand projects
The new airport in Ayodhya, to be called the Maryada Purushottam Sri Ram Airport, is being constructed on 600 acres of land about 8 km away from the Ram Mandir complex.
Simultaneously, a brand new bus terminal is also being constructed. The current railway station will also have to be integrated with the new ropeway.
According to official sources overseeing the development work in Ayodhya, the government wants to complete the airport project by December 2021. The actual work on the ropeway project is expected to start in the New Year, after Doppelmayr’s representatives visit Ayodhya for survey work — they will review the Ram Mandir, bus stand, airport and railway station sites.
The project is set to be executed in two years, before the Ram Mandir is completed in 2024.