In her Budget speech on Tuesday, Sitharaman said eight ropeway projects across 60 km will be constructed in the coming financial year in hill states. The scheme is aimed at facilitating modern mode of transportation in the hills, and will give fillip to border villages in such areas
The ‘Parvat Mala’ scheme announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after finance minister Nirmala Sitaraman presented the Union Budget 2022 on Tuesday, could be a game changer in hill states. The scheme is aimed at facilitating modern mode of transportation in the hills, and will give fillip to border villages in such areas, experts feel.
Under the scheme, ropeway connectivity will be provided in remote areas through the national ropeway development programme. In her speech, Sitharaman said eight ropeway projects across 60 km will be constructed in the coming financial year in hill states. Although details about these projects are yet to be known, the scheme has given Uttarakhand some hope.
The border hill state has a 344-km border with China and 80.5-km border with Nepal. In the last couple of years, close to 1,600 villages in the hills, including in four border districts — Chamoli, Champawat, Pithoragarh and Uttarkashi — have turned into ghost villages.
Experts said lack of transportation and road connectivity were two main reasons people were forced to move out. Jay Singh Rawat, a Dehradun-based author who hails from a border village in Chamoli district, said the demand for cable cars or ropeways was an old one. The idea of ‘Parvat Mala’ could be a turning point.
“Locals grow vegetables but bringing them to the nearest road head becomes a nightmare. If we have ropeways, then it will be easier. Moreover, road construction in the hills is a curse to the environment. So ropeways are best suited for hills and strategically crucial for border areas,” Rawat told News18.
In Uttarakhand, three ropeway projects are already underway – Ranibag to Hanuman Garhi in Nainital covering 12 km, Gaurikund to Kedarnath overing 8.5 km and Govindghat to Ghanghariya covering 8.8 km.
Mahendra Kunwar, an expert in the field of agriculture and an advocate for ropeways, said ‘Parvat Mala’ was a sensible scheme. “I feel that ropeway projects to be constructed under Parvat Mala will boost tourism, generate revenue and will help local transportation as well,” he added.
Rajya Sabha MP Anil Baluni, who is also the BJP national media incharge, said ‘Parvat Mala’ and a major push for organic farming along Ganga river will be beneficial for the state.