The first phase of the much-awaited Jammu Ropeway Project (JRP) commenced its commercial operations on Saturday amid adequate COVID-19 precautions, a senior official said, adding the second phase is expected to open later this year.
On completion, the project will link three ancient temples – Bawe Wali Mata, Mahamaya and Peer Kho – and is expected to give a boost to religious tourism as the three places are very famous among the devotees particularly those visiting Jammu, the city of temples, from across the country, said project manager Rakesh Bhat.
“We have started the commercial operations of the JRP from Bahu to Mahamaya, while the work on the second phase from Mahamaya to Peer Kho is in its final stages. It is also likely to be thrown open to the public by the last week of November or early December,” said Bhat.
When it was proposed back in 1995, the project was to be operated from Bahu Fort to Mubarak Mandi Complex. Later it was modified and the route relocated when both places were declared protected monuments.
The cable car corporation successfully conducted the trial run of the first phase of the project in April last year.
The 1.66-km-long cable car project has two phases, first from Bahu Fort to Mahamaya Park and the second from Mahamaya to Peer Kho over the Tawi river.
The second phase has a total length of 1,118 metres.
The cable car project would provide people a high-quality tourism experience with transportation facility, sightseeing and entertainment, said officials.
The ropeway from Bahu Fort to Mahamaya has eight cabins, and the one from Mahamaya to Peer Kho 14 cabins. The total number of towers in section one (Peer Kho to Mahamaya) and section two (Bahu Fort to Mahamaya) are nine and the critical components are all imported.
“The work on the execution of the Rs 75-crore project started in 2016 and the first phase was completed last year. It was inaugurated on July 27 this year but due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, the commercial operation got delayed,” said Bhat.
After the green signal by the government, the in-charge JRP said the commercial operations started and the first day saw an encouraging response from the public.
He said COVID-19 preventive measures such as maintaining social distance, sanitisation of cabins before and after boarding and deboarding of passengers, wearing masks and checking of body temperature have been made compulsory.
Out of the Rs 75 crore project cost, he said Rs 70 crore had been utilised so far on the project besides land compensation and development of the area under use.
“It is going to give a boost to local tourism. On completion, we have three historic temples linking together by the ropeway and it will help devotees pay their obeisance at these temples,” he said. PTI