Guwahati, Thursday, December 22, 2016
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Gammon to construct aerial tramway well
Rituraj Borthakur
 GUWAHATI, Dec 21 - Gammon India will construct the well for supporting the fifth pillar of the city’s aerial tramway project that will connect the north and south banks of the city.

“The work order was given to Gammon last week. We expect to see physical work on ground by January first week,” a GMDA official told The Assam Tribune.

The well will be constructed around 80 metres from the south bank and 200 metres away from the trestle (T2) which got tilted due to technical reasons and was abandoned later.

“If everything goes well, the trestle should be erected in six months’ time, unless they (Gammon) find obstacles in the riverbed. All the equipment have arrived. We are just waiting for the pillars to be completed. The entire ropeway project may be completed by the end of 2017,” the official said. The cost of the aerial tramway, which was initially estimated at Rs 27.7 crore, has now shot up to Rs 55 crore.

Once the pillars are ready, experts from the Switzerland-based firm Garaventa, which provided the equipment, are expected to come here for assembling the parts of the ropeway. An additional feature of rescue arrangement will also be included in the 1.8-km long tramway.

“It will be one of the longest tramways on any of the rivers of the world, and, as such, there is a risk factor involved. The wind velocity during months like March is very high. We will be putting an additional cable car as part of the rescue arrangement. In case any of the two trams gets stranded in the middle, the rescue car will automatically make its way to the tram so that the passengers can be evacuated to it,” the official said.

Samir Damodar Ropeways is the executing contractor for the project. Foreign partner of the project Garaventa is supplying the major equipment like cabins, ropes, safety and rescue machine. There will be two trams with each having the capacity to carry 30 passengers. It will operate from the old forest office campus near the Kamrup (Metro) Deputy Commissioner’s office to Doulgovinda in North Guwahati.

The ropeway, whose administrative sanction was issued in 2006, was scheduled to be commissioned by May, 2011. But it hit a roadblock after the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) refused permission for tilt rectification of the trestle (T2) constructed by another firm. The ASI had cited a 2010 legislation enacted by the Parliament, which disallowed construction activities within 100 metres of protected monuments. The trestle 2 lies very close to the Urvasi Island, which is a protected area under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.

The National Monuments Authority had permitted the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) for construction of trestle number T-3 on Umananda Island.

Of the total five trestles, two are in the river, another on Umananda Island and the other two are erected at the two ends of the tramway.

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