State explores cable car network as public transport system for Gangtok

State explores cable car network as public transport system for Gangtok
Thu, Nov 7, 2019

GANGTOK, (IPR): The recent traffic woe in the State capital has made Gangtok synonymous with traffic congestion - some section of the masses even rechristening it as ‘Jamtok’. Since the conclusion of bye-poll in October, the State government has been rigorously working towards coming up with a feasible and sustainable alternative to resolve the issue on a top priority basis.
In this regard, chief secretary S.C. Gupta chaired a meeting-cum-presentation on ‘Techno Economic Feasibility Study of Cable Car as Public Transport System for Gangtok’ held by State Urban Development department in co-ordination with Urban Mass Transit Company Ltd. (UMTC), New Delhi here at the conference hall of Tashiling Secretariat on November 5.
The meeting was also attended by HoDs of various stakeholder departments of the State government, all of who shared their opinions over adopting cable cars as a solution for the traffic congestion that Gangtok have been facing.
A representative of the Urban Development department informed that the department had engaged UMTC Ltd. in September 2016 and thereafter, during a period of three months, the UMTC team took a primary survey of data for projection of traffic situation in the next 30 years. He also stressed that the report being presented during the meet was only preliminary data and not the detailed project report (DPR).
The proposal is still at pre-feasibility stage and once the approval of the state government is obtained, a detailed DPR will be prepared.
He further informed that after holding consultation meetings/public hearings with public stakeholders and incorporating their suggestions and inputs, the concerned department had submitted the final report to the government earlier this year in February for approval.
Only after approval from the Government of Sikkim, the project of cable cars as transport system will move towards its DPR stage wherein the exact cost, capacity and site alignments will be determined, it was informed.
Chief secretary Gupta, while addressing the meeting, stated that adopting cable cars as a mode of public transport in Gangtok is being explored as one of the appropriate solutions available for the capital to tackle the burgeoning traffic menace. He said that if adopted, cable cars can become a viable long term solution to solve the grievances being faced by the State in terms of road traffic. He put forward the resolve of the State government to effectively decongest the roads of the State capital and mentioned that all possible options are being explored with utmost priority.
The chief secretary maintained throughout his briefing that cable cars as public transport is being examined as one of the solutions and is not the only solution. He mentioned that all stakeholders are tinkering with the traffic problem and asserted that a long term plan will soon be implemented by the State government. He said that Gangtok is a hill station and all the challenges in terms of geography and limited space are being considered while devising customized solutions to solve the traffic problem for the capital.
While speaking on the possibility of adopting cable cars as a public transport, the chief secretary stated that Gangtok is one of the pioneer cities in adopting cable cars. He asserted that the traffic situation in the capital is alarming, and that an immediate and effective long term solution should be taken up to curb this menace.
Gupta stated that cable cars are a modern and futuristic system of public transport and if adopted, this would effectively solve the traffic problem and be of great benefit to the people of the State. He directed the stakeholders to take all aspects into consideration while deliberating upon this mode of transport. He made various inquiries regarding safety, travel time and environment factors related to cable cars and expressed satisfaction at the study that was done by the concerned department and UMTC.
He called for co-operation and active participation of all the stakeholders to come together and deliberate and decide upon a feasible solution that would solve the traffic crisis on a long-term time frame.
A detailed review of the project was presented by UMTC senior manager AnimeshAhaskar and UMTCmanagerHarshitaSarma through their presentation on Techno Economic Feasibility Study of Cable Car as Public Transport System for Gangtok.
Speaking about the overview of UMTC Ltd., Sharma informed that UMTC is a unique joint venture of the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoH&UA) and Government of Andhra Pradesh that focuses on developing sustainable urban mobility solutions.
Stressing over focus on ‘moving people and not vehicles’ as per National Urban Transport Policy, 2016 and taking into consideration the population of Gangtok including tourist inflow and the unique geography of the town, Sharma said that if an initiative is not undertaken to tackle the traffic struggles today, the traffic congestion will increase by 80% in the next 30 years.
She further added that the key mobility concerns of the town were challenging terrain conditions, limited land availability for road network development, increasing private vehicle share, extensive dependence on taxi services, poor infrastructure and lack of parking spaces. She stated that an organized public transport system – one that is non-road-based is the need of the hour for decongesting traffic in Gangtok.
Non-road-based alternative for public transport like cable cars offers various benefits including small environmental footprint, terrain sustainability, lesser implementation of time & cost, mobility & accessibility and reduction in emission of greenhouse gases as compared to the ‘do nothing” scenario.
The presentation also touched upon coverage, multimodal integration, accessibility and safety of cable car transport system.
The conceptual system length of the proposed cable car network planning rounds up to 12.42 km with 13 conceptual stations, it is informed.
Comparative studies between Gangtok and Medellin in Columbia and La Paz in Bolivia were also discussed in the meeting as these cities share geographical and infrastructural similarities.

Area: 7096 Sq Km
Altitude: 5,840 ft
Population: 6.10 Lakhs
Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 ft. to over 28,509 ft above sea level
Summer: Max- 21°C ; Min – 13°C
Winter: Max -13°C ; Min – 0.48°C
Rainfall: 325 cm per annum
Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi