Pilgrims can soon take a trolley to Jejuri,45 km from Pune,travelling up and down the hill slopes with the help of a cable.
The system is called a funicular railway. Once the cable-run railway comes up,devotees would no longer have to climbing hundreds of steps for a darshan of the popular deity,Khandoba,at the temple on the hill.
The state government recently gave approval for the railway. Once the plan is implemented,it will be the first state-run funicular railway in the country.
Germany,France,Switzerland,America and Japan have such railways. In India,the Palani temple in Madurai,Tamil Nadu,claims to have the first funicular rail,which is privately operated,to ferry devotees up the hill.
Maharashtra too has one at Bhira and at Bhivpuri Road. It belongs to the Tata Group and is restricted to private use. Bhivpuri Road,a station on the Mumbai Suburban Railway on the Karjat route,has a hydropower plant installed by the Tata Group.
The cost of the Jejuri funicular rail project is nearly Rs 11 crore and its construction will be carried out on a BOT basis,local MLA Ashok Tekawade told The Indian Express on Saturday.
He said,The idea germinated almost two years back,when a national level politician,who hails from Pune district wanted to take a darshan of the deity,but was unable to climb the 450 steps leading to the temple. After this,we immediately proposed to construct something that will easily ferry people from the bottom of the hill to the temple directly. Through discussions,we finally decided to go for a funicular railway.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan cleared project at a cabinet subcommittee meeting,also attended by Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal,state finance minister Dilip Walse Patil and district guardian minister Ajit Pawar,Tekawade said.
Talking about the details of the proposed railway,he said,The track for the funicular trolley will be an elevated one,at a height of 4 metre from the ground. The total length of the track is 230 metre from the base of the hill. Two trolleys will ferry passengers up and down. The capacity of each will be 60 and the total journey will take less than two minutes. The trolleys will complete about 12 trips.
There will be a single track for both trolleys,but at a junction where both two trolleys cross each other,there will be double track for crossing.
Work is likely to start in June,when the election code of conduct is lifted.
What It Means
Funicular railway:A type of self-contained cable railway across cliffs
Twins:System includes a pair of tram-like vehicles on rails
Cable:Moves pair up and down a very steep slope in a way that ascending and descending vehicles counterbalance each other
Principle:Combines technology of an elevator (a cable pulling a car up) and technology of a railroad (a car on a track)
History:Devised in 15th century as a way of getting people and things up steep hillsides
Use:Funicular now most frequently used to carry skiers to mountaintops