Calling the cable car accident in Jharkhand’s Deogarh district “rare and unfortunate”, the state-owned tourism development corporation said on Tuesday that the company contracted to operate the system had a negligible record of slippages or malfunctions, and the contract was given to them after a performance evaluation.
However, no official from Damodar Ropeway and Infra Limited (DRIL), which operated and maintained the ropeway, responded to PTI’s questions.
At least three people died – one of the injured and two others due to a botched rescue operation – as the cable cars of the district’s Manoharpur block ropeway system collided on Sunday before coming to a halt, leaving about 70 people. suspended in the air.
Alok Prasad, managing director of the Jharkhand Tourism Development Corporation (JTDC), said the state maintained the cable car, built by DRIL in 2007 in the hills of Tirkut, for two years before handing over its operations to the business.
“It was the only Indian company that had a negligible number of untoward incidents. DRIL operates ropeways in around 40 locations across India,” he said.
“The Tirkut Hill Ropeway only started operations in 2009 because it took time to get technical permission. For two years, JTDC operated the ropeway before handing over its operations to DRIL,” said said Prasad.
When asked if there was a backup plan in place in case of an accident, Prasad said, “There is a service rope to rescue people if the carts get stuck. However, in this incident, the rope could not be used.”
The service rope is an additional rope used for maintenance work. It is also used to rescue passengers using a harness in case a cable car gets stuck in between. The operational rope is the one used to transport the cable cars.
In this case, according to Prasad, the service cable could not be used because the operational cable sagged due to the weight of the grounded cable cars, thus increasing the gap between the two.
Residents of Deogarh claimed that the lack of maintenance and overloading of the cable cars could have led to the accident.
Manoharpur block development manager Vivek Kishor when approached said families often insist on traveling in a single cart
“A trolley is not supposed to carry more than four people. If a family of five insists on traveling together, the number may increase. Most children under the age of 10 board the trolley with four others,” said he declared.
The JTDC official, for his part, said, “There is a fixed time for maintenance of the system every day – from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. In addition, the ropes are changed every three years. The rubber wheels are also changed at regular intervals”.
However, he did not confirm whether the maintenance schedule was regularly followed.
According to Jharkhand Tourism Department, Tirkut Cable Car near Baba Baidyanath Temple is India’s highest vertical cable car. It is approximately 766 meters long.
Chief Minister Hemant Soren said a high-level investigation would be opened into the incident.
“I have asked senior officials to find out the reasons for the incident and the list of those responsible for the incident. A high-level investigation will be carried out into this matter and action will be taken accordingly,” he said. added.
First post: STI