The Uttarakhand government on Thursday said it would commence work on the Mussoorie ropeway project only after government of India’s response on the viability gap funding (VGF) which it had sought under the large revenue generating project.
“After the acceptance by the Centre (on VGF), the work on the ropeway project will be commenced,” state tourism minister Amrita Rawat told the state Assembly in reply to a question by BJP MLA Ganesh Joshi. Rawat also informed the house that the tourism department has also acquired 65 acres of land at Mussoorie where the ropeway project has been proposed.
Along with the ropeway project, the department has also proposed an eco tourism project at Mussoorie. After failing to get any satisfactory response from investors, the government is seeking Rs 50 crore under VGF from the Centre for the first phase of the ropeway project between Hathipaon and Library where an investment of Rs 220 crore is required.
Under the large revenue generating project scheme, the Centre provides assistance to promote tourism, especially all those projects which become tourist attractions.
For seeking viability gap funding, the state government has written a letter to the union ministry of tourism to seek an assistance of Rs 50 crore.
Earlier the tourism department had split the project in two parts and was looking for a foreign collaborator with a provision of 26 percent equity participation. “Due to poor market conditions, we are now looking for viability gap funding of Rs 50 crore from the centre for our Mussoorie ropeway project,” said a government official.
For enticing investments, the government has agreed to give the project for a lease period of 40 years instead of the earlier provision of only 30 years and provide land for building an entertainment park, trekking corridors and mountain parking.
Besides, there is a provision for 26 percent equity participation by a foreign collaborator since the technology is not available in India.
The tourism department had initiated a series of ropeway projects on PPP mode at various tourist and religious centres of the hill state three years ago. However, most of these projects had hit roadblocks mainly due to the poor market conditions, bureaucratic hurdles and lengthy processes of forest clearances and land acquisition.
The cynosure of these projects is the Mussoorie-Dehra Dun ropeway that would bring down the distance between the two areas considerably. Other ropeway projects are coming up at various famous religious centres like Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Poornagiri in the hill state.
The state tourism department in 2008-09 invited bids from private players for the Mussoorie ropeway project. But the bids were later cancelled on technical grounds.
The Uttarakhand Infrastructure Projects Company (UIPC) Pvt Ltd, a joint venture between the state government and IL&FS, has prepared the fresh DPR for the Mussoorie ropeway project.
Src: Business Standard