Guwahati gets India’s ‘longest’ river ropeway

Rope trick:Work on the ropeway connecting Guwahati city with north Guwahati began in 2009.Ritu Raj Konwar  

India’s ‘longest’ passenger ropeway across a river was unveiled in Guwahati on Monday, almost a year after it was completed.

The 1.82-km bi-cable jig-back ropeway connects a forest campus near the Kamrup (Metro) Deputy Commissioner’s office in the city on the southern bank of the Brahmaputra and a hillock behind the Doul Govinda temple in north Guwahati on the other.

The ropeway passes over the mid-river Peacock Island that houses Umananda, a medieval Shiva temple.

Scenic ride

“The long wait for a ropeway is over. People dependent on ferry services to travel between the two banks now have an alternative that also offers a view,” Assam’s Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said after unveiling the ropeway with Guwahati Development Department Minister Siddhartha Bhattacharya.

The Rs. 56.08-crore ropeway project was assigned to the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) in 2006. The foundation stone was laid in December 2009, a year after a Kolkata-based firm was awarded the construction work. A Swiss firm designed the cabins later.

The ropeway was scheduled to have been commissioned in May 2011 but an objection from the Archaeological Survey of India stopped the work in February that year. GMDA received the permission to restart the project in 2015 on the condition that a pillar on a heritage island be realigned.

“We are not sure about the second longest river ropeway, but engineers who worked on the project said the Guwahati-North Guwahati ropeway is India’s longest in its category. The longest on land, of course, is the one in Gulmarg, Kashmir,” GMDA’s chief executive officer Umananda Doley told The Hindu .

“We have installed CCTV cameras strategically to ensure security of the ropeway system,” he said, adding that the trial run for the ropeway was done in 2019.

Each cabin could carry 32 people, including the operator, and the ride took about nine minutes one way, officials said.