Jammu, Dec 24 (PTI) Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Malik Monday e-inaugurated the Rs 85-crore Bhawan-Bhairon passenger ropeway, which is expected to make travel easier for Vaisno Devi pilgrims.

Malik, who is also the chairman of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, dedicated the high-tech project to pilgrims visiting the famous hill shrine, at a function in Raj Bhavan here on Monday, an official spokesman said.

He said the ropeway will reduce travel time between Bhawan and Bhairon Temple (one-way journey) from one hour to just about three minutes.

The board has decided to keep the ticket price low, with the to and fro journey costing Rs 100 per passenger, the spokesman said.

The governor lauded the efforts of the officers and engineers “who made this mega project a reality” and gave valuable inputs to the shrine board to operate the ropeway system in a “hassle-free” manner.

Speaking on the safety aspect of the project, Malik said rescue and relief preparations should be of international standards.

The ropeway has a carrying capacity of 800 persons per hour. The Electro-Mechanical Components and cabins of the ropeway have been imported from Switzerland. The system has been fully equipped with all safety gear as per relevant standards and codes, the spokesman said. “The passenger ropeway is a bi-cable jig-back system with two fully enclosed spacious cabins. It can carry 40 to 45 persons in each compartment in one go. Proper provision for ventilation has also been made,” he explained.

The project has been executed by a consortium of Messrs Garaventa AG, Switzerland and Messrs Damodar Ropeways Construction Company (Private) Limited, Kolkata under the overall supervision of Messrs RITES Limited.

“With the completion of this ambitious project, devotees, particularly the elderly and specially-abled, would be able to fulfill their wish of paying obeisance at Bhairon ji Temple which was earlier difficult due to the steep climb to an altitude of 6,600 feet,” he said.

The board has established a ticketing hall, automated fare collection counters, turnstile barrier gates, stairs and ramp leading to the ropeway station and other associated facilities for the pilgrims, he added.

Additional life insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh for the ropeway passengers, which will be over and above the insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh available to track ‘yatris’, has also been approved by the board during its 63rd meeting, the spokesman said.

The horizontal distance of the passenger ropeway is 375 metre, vertical rise is 236 metre and the slope length is 443 metre. It has a complete power back up system at the drive station.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.