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Posted at: Apr 11, 2017, 1:26 AM; last updated: Apr 11, 2017, 5:48 PM (IST)

Take Shimla ropeway to reach Jakhu from Ridge in 5 minutes

Take Shimla ropeway to reach Jakhu from Ridge in 5 minutes
Gondola lifts on the ropeway became operational on Monday.

Kuldeep Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, April 10

Tourists visiting Shimla can now enjoy its scenic beauty and British-era architecture from up in the air as the town’s first ropeway linking the Ridge to the famous Lord Hanuman temple on the Jakhu peak was thrown open today.

The fare for the two-way journey is Rs 550 per person. Those opting for the 450-metre trip can reach Jakhu hilltop, situated at 8,054 feet above sea level, in just five minutes. 

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At present, tourists either have to trek up the steep hill or take the road route via Cart Road and Sanjauli, an around 8-km stretch that frequently witnesses traffic snarls. 

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh inaugurated the project by himself taking the ride in one of the gondola lifts. Accompanying him was Mayor Sanjay Chauhan. “Shimla’s dream project has seen the light of day,” said the CM.

The construction on the ropeway began in 2007, but the executing firm, Jagson International Ltd, faced several hurdles in getting legal, environmental and forest clearances. The project would be run in public-private partnership for 30 years. The company would pay Rs 57 lakh as dividend to the state government in its first year and 15 per cent of revenue from the ropeway annually thereafter. 

The company has claimed the tariff has been fixed on the basis of the project’s cost, “which was on higher side, but could be revised at a later stage”. On the opening day, there were a few takers for the aerial ride as the private operator ran empty gondola lifts up and down in a bid to attract riders. 

“The ride to the temple is good, but Rs 550 per person for a five-minute trip is expensive. A family of four ends up paying Rs 2,150 whereas a government-run taxi charges a mere Rs 20 per seat to reach Jakhu from the Ridge,” said Pankaj Kapur, a tourist.

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