Parvatmala-An efficient and safe alternate transport network
- Government has decided to develop Ropeways in hilly areas of the country.
- Union Finance Minister while presenting Union Budget for 2022-23 announced National Ropeways Development Programme – “Parvatmala” .
- This will be taken up on PPP mode and will be a preferred ecologically sustainable alternative in place of conventional roads in difficult hilly areas.
Need for Ropeways
- Developing an efficient transport network is a big challenge in hilly areas.
- The rail and air transport networks are limited in these areas, while the development of road network has technical challenges.
- In this backdrop, Ropeways have emerged as a convenient and safe alternate transport mode.
Expansion of developmental ambit of MoRTH
- The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has so far been responsible for development of Highways and regulating the road transport sector across the country.
- However, in February 2021, the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules 1961 was amended, which enables the Ministry to also look after the development of Ropeways and Alternate Mobility Solutions.
- The move will give a boost to the sector by setting up a regulatory regime.
- The Ministry will also have responsibility for development of ropeway and alternative mobility solutions technology, as well as construction, research, and policy in this area.
- Formulation of institutional, financial, and regulatory framework for the technology will also fall under the ambit of this allocation.
Major factors driving ropeway infrastructure
Economical mode of transportation
- Given that ropeway projects are built in a straight line over a hilly terrain, it also results in lower land acquisition costs. Hence, despite having a higher cost of construction per km than roadways, ropeway projects’ construction cost may happen to be economical than roadways.
Faster mode of transportation
- Owing to the aerial mode of transportation, ropeways have an advantage over roadway projects where ropeways can be built in a straight line, over a hilly terrain.
- Low dust emissions. Material containers can be designed so as to rule out any soiling of the environment.
Last mile connectivity
- Ropeway projects adopting 3S (a kind of cable car system) or equivalent technologies can transport 6000-8000 passengers per hour.
Benefits of ropeways
Ideal for difficult / challenging / sensitive terrain
- Long rope spans: The system crosses obstacles like rivers, buildings, ravines, or roads without a problem.
- Ropes guided over towers: Low space requirements on the ground, and no barrier for humans or animals.
- Ropeway having multiple cars propelled by a single power-plant and drive mechanism.
- This reduces both construction and maintenance costs.
- The use of a single operator for an entire ropeway is a further saving, in labour cost.
- On level ground, the cost of ropeways is competitive with narrow-gauge railroads; in the mountains the ropeway is far superior.
- Transport of different materials - A ropeway allows for the simultaneous transport of different types of material.
Ability to handle large slopes
- Ropeways and cableways (cable cranes) can handle large slopes and large differences in elevation.
- Where a road or railroad needs switchbacks or tunnels, a ropeway travels straight up and down the fall line.
- The old cliff railways in England and ski resort ropeways in the mountains take advantage of this feature.
- The fact that only narrow-based vertical supports are needed at intervals, leaving the rest of the ground free, makes it possible for ropeways to be constructed in built-up areas and in places where there is intense competition for land use.