DARJEELING: The Darjeeling Rungeet Valley Ropeway at Singamari, which is about 4 km from Darjeeling town, shut down for nearly seven years will finally be opened for commercial purpose before the Pujas.
Hiten Barman, the state forest minister who was at the closing ceremony of the Forest Week at Sukhey Pokhari, said on Monday that Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee would announce the reopening of the ropeway during her visit to the Hills next month.
Bartya Basu, minister of state for higher education, Gautam Deb, the North Bengal development minister and Sunil Chandra Tirkey, the consumer affairs minister were also present at the function organized by the forest department.
"The ropeway in Darjeeling will be opened before the Puja. Our honorable CM will herself announce it next month in Darjeeling," said Barman. The ropeway services, a crowd puller, were stopped after five people died when the cable snapped leading to an accident seven years ago. causing two cars to plummet down the hill. "The Mackenjee Company a US based consultancy service will provide the report to the PWD who will then give the fitness certificate," said the forest minister.
The passenger ropeway was operated as a joint venture of the West Bengal Forest Development Corporation and the Conveyor and Ropeway Services Private Ltd. It had been revamped in 1988. It consisted of sixteen cars and plied between the "North Point" in the town of Darjeeling and Singla the banks of the Ramman River at an elevation of 2134 meters, offering beautiful views of the hills and the valleys around Darjeeling.
The forest minister said that the PWD department had earlier rejected the report of the Macenjee Company on technical grounds. However after second inspection the PWD is ready to issue the fitness certificate. "Yes, the PWD was not satisfied with the report earlier but after the second inspection are ready to issue the certificate of fitness. This means that the ropeway will be ready to ply before the Puja," said Barman.
Interacting with media persons after planting a sapling near a forest in Sukhey Pokhari, the minister stressed the need for the forest, tourism and environment department of the State to work in tandem successfully chalk out and implement tourism projects in the Hills. "We have a vision for the Hills. But the other departments related with tourism must work together to make it successful," said the minister.
Barman also said that the forest bungalows and other properties destroyed after the February 8, Shibchu incident would be revamped soon. "I will talk to the Hills MLAs and the DGHC administrator," he said. Infrastructures destroyed by Aila cyclone would also be restored.