Tuesday, January 7, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Asia’s longest ropeway by year-end
Ehsan Fazili
Tribune News Service

Gulmarg, January 6
The Gulmarg Gondola project will become Asia’s highest and longest ropeway, when its second-phase is completed by the end of this year. The 2.5 km-long ropeway project functional between Gulmarg and Kongdori since 1998, is a major attraction for tourists, though only 30 per cent of them visiting this spot go for the cable-car ride.

The 11th Finance Commission has provided Rs 11 crore to the Jammu and Kashmir Cable-Car Corporation for the completion of the 3.5 km-long second phase of the project between Kongori and Apharwat. The work on the project is in progress and expected to be completed by year-end, Mr Farooq Ahmed Shah, Managing Director of the corporation said. “Its completion will promote not only winter sports like skiing in the state, but is also expected to become a great attraction for summer tourism”, Mr Shah added.

Waiting for a heavy snowfall, which lends charm and adds to the glory of these slopes and provides livelihood to hundreds of labourers and others living in surrounding villages and hamlets, functionaries of the Gulmarg Gondola project are planning to organise the second Gondola Ski Cup in February. To promote winter tourism, the Cable-Car Corporation, organised the first Gondola Ski Cup in March last year in which 75 skiers participated.

Due to disturbances in Gujarat last year, the flow of tourists in the Kashmir Valley was “very less, but still we earned a record revenue of Rs 141 lakh last year”, according to Mr Shah, looking after such projects in the state. It earned Rs 85.54 lakh in 1998-99, the year of its inception, and Rs 115 lakh, Rs 128 lakh and Rs 132 lakh in the subsequent years. This is the second profit-making corporation in the state after the Jammu and Kashmir Cements and is not taking any budgetary support from the government, Mr Shah said.

Gulmarg or the meadow of flowers, which is a major attraction for tourists, at a height of 9,000 ft, 50 km from Srinagar, though remained peaceful in the past over a decade of militancy in Kashmir, has registered a drastic decline in tourist trade over the years. In its efforts to attract more tourists, particularly during the winter months, when the thick snow provides natural skiing slopes, functionaries at the Gulmarg Gondola project have taken up several measures, which depend on snowfall in the next couple of months.

The Cable-Car Corporation also plans to provide ropeway facility for ferrying tourists from the shrine of Baba Rishi to Gulmarg. In this connection, a techno-economic study has already been carried out.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |