UNION Minister for road transport, shipping and highways Nitin Gadkari said that private players need not worry about the profits from a ropeway transport system in the country if the ‘Make In India’ approach is used. He said that there is a need to reduce the capital costs of implementing the system, which can make the model financially viable.
While speaking at a two-day conclave in Mumbai to make ropeway tourism feasible in the city by the Indian Port Rail Corporation Limited (IPRCL), Gadkari said: “Innovative technology could be used to reduce the capital costs of the ropeway project. If the material is made in the country, it will be cheaper. The average cost expenditure of ropeway is Rs 50 crore per kilometre as compared to metro ways which is Rs 350 crore per kilometre. If the equipment for the ropeway is manufactured inside the city, it could be further reduce by Rs 20-30 crore,” he added.
Fewer investors are taking interest in bidding for the different modes of ropeway routes planned in the country. Lesser awareness of the technology and failure to get subsidies from the government are claimed to be the reasons.
“The investors should not worry about the profits they can earn from the technology. If they can lower the capital costs, the ticket fares would be lower. This would largely attract traffic in the project which could generate revenue.
The players can also commercially exploit the space around stations by developing hotels there,” he added. He added that the government should involve professional players while making different tenders for ropeways. As the concept is unique to the country, it could be studied well before the policy is made, he added.
“Few officials in the government believe that they are completely aware of the details of the project and they do not need further guidance on it. However, after the tender is made, errors are witnessed. Thus, the aid of professional companies could be roped in for the project,” he said.
“We cannot keep a complicated system of making the policy for a ropeway. If each person continues to give their inputs, it will take longer. It will be easier to execute the work once its prototype is ready,” Gadkari added.
The minister further said that norms of countries such as Austria and Switzerland, which see existing ropeway transport could be emulated. The NITI Aayog is formulating the policy making for ropeways in the country.
Mumbai at present has the development of a ropeway transport between Sewri and Elephanta Road by Mumbai Port Trust. “We are planning to start the RoRo service between Bhaucha Dhakka and Uran by April 1. This can switch the vehicular transport from roads via waterways,” he added. Gadkari further said that ropeways could be developed as a public transport commute in Mumbai. “It is eco-friendly and is economical. It could cut travel time as compared to using roadways for commute. We could also generate employment opportunities through ropeways,” he added.