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Ropeway project gets initial nod from Centre

Panaji: The expert appraisal committee (EAC) on infrastructure under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has granted the initial approval in the form of terms of reference to the proposal of development, operation and maintenance of passenger ropeway, along with ancillary tourism activity, between Panaji and Reis Magos.

In order to enhance Goa’s tourism, the department of tourism and Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC), after studying various routes in the state, had suggested development of a ropeway project between Panaji and Reis Magos.

On behalf of the state government, the GTDC had carried out a competitive bidding process for selection of private entities or bidders for the development of the project and concluded the bidding process by selecting Menus Adventures Pvt Ltd, which, in turn, incorporated M/s Royal Rides Pvt Ltd as the ‘Special Purpose Vehicle’ for executing the project.

The proposed ropeway will be ‘Detachable Monocable Gondola’ system developed from Panaji to the village of Reis Magos with building construction at both the terminals with an alignment of 1,218 metres in length, covering an area of 38,571.69 square metres (including terminal stations, ropeway corridor and other activities) and an elevation difference of 21 metres. After detailed deliberations on the proposal, the committee, in its meeting held on October 18, recommended the grant of Terms of Reference (ToR), as specified by the Ministry as Standard ToR in April 2015 for the said project/activity, in addition to Standard Terms of Reference for preparation of EIA-EMP (Environment Impact Assessment – Environment Management Plan) report of the project.

The project proponent and the accredited consultant M/s Perfact Enviro Solutions Pvt Ltd gave a detailed presentation before the committee on the salient features of the project.

The proposal approved by the EAC states that the total number of trips per day will depend on operational hours. The project can cover 288 trips in 24 hours during peak time and a total of eight passengers can be carried at a time as per the proposal.

Being an aerial ropeway, the project falls under Item 7(g) of the schedule of EIA Notification, 2006 under category A due to the applicability of general condition as the project lies at 4.26 km NE from the eco-sensitive zone of Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary.

It is understood that around 250 jobs for locals will be created by the project. The total number of people envisaged for the proposed project during the operational phase is 18,750 including tourist activity – visitors (16,000), tourist activity – staff (1,600), food court and restaurants – visitors (1,000) and food court and restaurants – staff (150).

The total water requirement has been estimated as 416 KLD (kilo litres per day) and the source will be municipal supply and tanker water supply. Water will be used mainly for domestic use, kitchen, flushing, DG and HVAC cooling, gardening and other miscellaneous purposes. The total quantity of wastewater generation has been estimated to be 321 KLD. The wastewater generated will be treated at a sewage treatment plant with total capacity of 400 KLD.

The EAC has recommended that the ToR and public hearing prescribed by the committee should be considered during preparation of the EIA/ EMP report for the said project in addition to all the relevant information as per the ‘Generic Structure of EIA’ given in Appendix III and IIIA in the EIA Notification, 2006. The draft EIA/EMP report shall be submitted to the state pollution control board for public hearing.

Meanwhile, while interacting with media persons in Panaji, GTDC chairman Dayanand Sopte said that the government will soon hold a public hearing to take the people into confidence before executing the plan to set up the ropeway facility.

“We are yet to finalise the agency. Two agencies have been shortlisted and soon we will choose one of them by following the due procedures,” he said. 

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