Punjab HP
Punjab HP

Punjab, Himachal agree to Anandpur Sahib-Naina Devi ropeway

ANI | Updated: Sep 28, 2018 16:26 IST

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], Sept 28 (ANI): The northern states of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set up a ropeway project between two religious sites- Anandpur Sahib and Naina Devi.
The signing, which coincided with the 111th birth anniversary of freedom fighter Shaheed Bhagat Singh, took place in the presence of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder and his Himachal Pradesh counterpart Jai Ram Thakur.
Welcoming the agreement, Punjab Chief Minister said that it is a historic move to facilitate pilgrims visiting Sri Anandpur Sahib in Punjab and Naina Devi in Himachal Pradesh.
The project would prove to be mutually beneficial for the two states, he continued, underlining the need to promote tourism to boost the state's socio-economic development.
Singh also stressed on the huge tourism potential in the region and said it was in the interest of all the states in the region to work collectively to facilitate tourism.
Thakur, on the other hand, said that this project is a sign of Sikh-Hindu brotherhood, as it links the two historically important shrines of Anandpur Sahib and Mata Naina Devi.
Over 25 lakh tourists visit Naina Devi every year and 80% of them are from Punjab, he added.
The two chief ministers also agreed that the project would ease the travel of devotees visiting the two shrines, which are located quite far from each other, with hilly terrain compounding their problems.
The Punjab tourism department has acquired 108 Kanal and 13 Marla of land for setting up a Lower Terminal Point and right of way within the Punjab territory for this purpose. The project will be executed on in Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode by setting up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV).
The project is estimated to cost Rs 250 crore and would cover a distance of 3.5 km. Three terminal points will be Lower Terminal Point (LTP) at Anandpur Sahib, Intermediate Terminal Point (ITP) at Toba and Upper Terminal Point (UTP) at Naina Devi.
The total paid-up equity for the SPV will be Rs. 1 crore, with Rs. 50 lakh each as a share of the two states. As per the MoU, both states will have an equal share in the revenue, with a Concession period of 40 years.
Captain Amarinder said that the company to carry forward the work will be formed soon and it will have 10 directors, five each from the two stages.
In the initial seven years, no concession fee would be paid by the Concessionaire and a time period of three years would be given to set up this project. This has been done to ensure that the tariffs remain affordable for the tourists and pilgrims.
Notably, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between both the governments to set up the Ropeway between Anandpur Sahib and Naina Devi on July 26, 2012. The Punjab Tourism Department had also acquired a vast land land for setting up a lower terminal and right of way within the Punjab territory for this purpose.
However, the MoU was cancelled by the Himachal Pradesh Government on June 3, 2014.
In February this year, Thakur wrote to Singh, who agreed to restart the project.
Subsequently, earlier this month, the Punjab tourism department received the approved MoU from the HP government, which the Punjab cabinet approved on September 20. (ANI)