Construction to start this autumn

  • pokhara cable car
- LAL PRASAD SHARMA, Pokhara

Apr 2, 2015-

The Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport and Manakamana Darshan Chitwan Co-E have signed an agreement to build a cable car linking Phewa Lake and the World Peace Stupa located on a hilltop overlooking the lake.

The 1.5-km aerial tramway is estimated to cost more than Rs1.3 billion excluding land acquisition. The signing of the construction contract on Tuesday has got locals and entrepreneurs excited.

Tourism traders said that the cable car, which has in the works for two years, would be a new visitor attraction in Pokhara, and that it would help to boost arrivals and lengthen the stay of domestic and foreign holiday makers.  

“The cable car will be a unique product for Pokhara’s tourism,” said Bharat Raj Parajuli, president of the Hotel Association Nepal Western Region Chapter. “This will help increase tourist movement besides increasing their length of stay in the lakeside city.”

Meanwhile, Rajesh Babu Shrestha, executive director of Manakamana Darshan which operates Manakamana Cable Car, the first such system in the country, said they would get on with a detailed feasibility report, engineering survey and other tasks.

As per the pact, all the studies need to be completed by 60 days. Shrestha said the construction would begin within six-seven months. The project is being implemented as a joint venture between Manak-amana Darshan and Austrian company Doppelmayr.

On Feb 22, 2012, the ministry had called for expressions of interest from the private sector to develop and manage the project under the build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) model.

There were five applicants from among whom the ministry had short listed three joint-venture firms, namely Lama Construction in association with United Builders and Engineers and Shahiba International, Laxmi Intercontinental in association with Sujal Foods and a French company Pomagalski SAS Exclusivity Co-operation and Manakamana Darshan Chitwan Co-E in association with Doppelmayr.

They were asked to submit requests for proposal, and the ministry decided to award the project to Manakamana Darshan Chitwan Co-E after examining all the schemes.

However, one of the short listed applicants Laxmi Intercontinental was not happy with the selection and filed a petition at the Supreme Court claiming that the bidding process had been unfair.

On August 6, 2013, Justice Sushila Karki issued an interim order putting the project on hold until a final verdict. Last January, the apex court quashed the petition filed by Laxmi allowing the cable car project to move ahead.

As per the pact, the project’s construction time is two years, and the company gets to operate it for 20 years under the BOOT modality.

 

Published: 03-04-2015 09:23

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