Magnetic slide

A breathtaking view of the sea from the ropeway at Kailasagiri in Visakhapatnam. Photo: K.R. Deepak

A breathtaking view of the sea from the ropeway at Kailasagiri in Visakhapatnam. Photo: K.R. Deepak  

VIZAGITES HAVE been frequenting their favourite pastime rendezvous -- Kailasagiri amusement park -- either by motoring along the ghat road or by trekking the flights of stairs on the eastern and the western side of the hillock.

Now they have a third and hi-tech route to reach the hilltop park, developed by the Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority. From May 1, not only the residents but also visitors and tourists to the `City of Destiny' will have the breath-taking experience of ferrying on a ropeway to scale the summit. The first-of-its-kind in the State and country's first one on the coast, this unique Rs.2.5-crore project has been executed on a build-operate-own-and-transfer (BOOT) basis by Kolkata-based Conveyor and Ropeway Services Private Limited, which has several similar projects to its credit like in Bhopal, Darjeeling and Chattisgarh.

The VUDA Vice-Chairman, D. Sreenivasulu, who informally commissioned the new facility last week, said: "The Kailasagiri ropeway holds out the promise to be a magnet that can attract children and adults, apart from domestic and foreign tourists. For this project the VUDA has provided only the basic facility of land. The company has raised the required funds and the BOOT deal is valid for 21 years.''

According to the company's managing director, S. Chakravarty, the cable car that would slither along the ropeway can cover the 380-metre distance from the foothill to the top in just three minutes. The ropeway has a capacity to transport 800 passengers per hour. The maximum number of cable cars on line will be 11 though the company intends to press into service only seven at the moment.

Each cabin can accommodate six passengers. The cabin walls are transparent so that travellers can have the mesmerising view of the city's landscape and seashore. The starting point at the foothill is on an elevated pedestal requiring a climb by visitors on a spiral staircase. The ropeway people intend providing a lift shortly for the benefit of the old and he infirm. The tariff for the each cruise has been fixed thus: for adults - to and fro Rs.35, and one-way Rs.20; for children - Rs.18 to and fro, and one-way Rs.10.

By Sampath R. in Visakhapatnam

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