Jammu cable car project to boost tourism
After repeated delays, the Jammu cable car launch is eagerly awaited. According to media reports, the cable car should open in early 2019.
Thanks to its climate, Jammu is known above all as the winter capital of Kashmir. The city is an important transport hub and the home of many Hindu temples. Despite that, few tourists find their way here. The government hopes that completion of the cable car project will also bring an economic upswing.
Khurshid Ahmad ganai, advisor to the government, agrees that the installation will provide added value as a tour- ist attraction but, even more than that, he believes that, rather than attract the mases, the cableway will improve residents’ quality of life as an everyday means of transport.
Jammu is the second largest city of the indian state of Jammu and Kashmir after srinagar. Photo: Amar Nath
The story of a project
The cable car will lead from Bahu Fort to Mahamaya Park in Jammu. According to local media reports, it is only the second project of this size implemented in the region. Until now, the Gulmarg Gondola on the edge of the Gulmarg Valley, which operates at an altitude of 2,699 meters, has been the only cableway installation. It was completed three decades ago which is why local residents initially had their doubts about the Jammu cable car.
The idea to give the second largest city in the state a new lift goes back as early as 1995. Originally, it should have run from Bahu Fort to the Mubarak Mandi Complex. But when Mubarak Mandi and Bahu Fort were listed as protected monuments, the project had to be slightly modified.
The foundation stone was laid by the former Minister Omar Abdullah in 2014. He was the first one to really understand the potential of such an installation. He wanted to provide something that would serve both tourists and locals. Soon after, in June of the following year, official work started.
But there have been many delays as it took an unusaly long time for the competent government authorities to issue the necessary permits. The contract for the implementation of the project was awarded to the Kashmir State Cable Car Corporation.
In its first section, the cable car will lead from Bahu Fort (photo) to Mahamaya Temple, providing a connection between two sights. Photo: Kushagra Singh
Another reason why deadlines were not kept were claims by the affected landowners. As there was no reference project, it was initially quite difficult to reach an agreement with them on the amount of compensation.
Local media reported that most important components needed for the approximately 1.6-kilometer-long installation were imported from Turkey, Switzerland, Austria and Germany to utilize these countries’ expertise in the field of cableway technology.
Despite all the delays and setbacks, as well as a tragic accident that occurred shortly before the planned launch at the end of January, people are convinced that the cable car will be an asset for the region. Its route is divided into two successive sections, the first leading from Bahu Fort to Mahamaya, the second from Mahamaya across Tawi River to Peer Kho.
The first section is 447 meters long, with eight cabins, the second much longer, approximately 1.1 kilometers, with 14 cabins. Landscaping work around the three planned stations, as well as the construction of look-out platforms and access roads were completed by the Cable Car Corporation prior to the completion of the cableway itself.
What’s more: all stations will be equipped with cafeterias, wooded viewing decks, souvenir shops and washrooms. In the framework of this project, the winter capital has also received important facilities to further increase its attractiveness for tourists. People in Jammu are proud of their tourism boosting project – the “Jammu Cable Car”.
The exact cost of the installation and the associated landscaping and infrastructure development is unknown. However, it is estimated at some 75 billion rupees (~900 million euros). tm