Explained: All about Parwanoo’s Timber Trail ropeway where tourists got stuck

On October 13, 1992, at least 11 people, including one host, were left stranded after a cable wire was cut and the cable car was left dangling 1,300 feet over the Kushaliya River. The subsequent rescue operation carried out by the Indian Air Force and Army lasted for more than two days before the last rescue operation was withdrawn among the stranded.

When did the Timber Trail debut?

The 1.8km ropeway between two lanes in Parwano was originally constructed by Aarconinfra Ropeways, a Hyderabad-based company, in 1988 for Timber Trail Resorts owner RK Garg. The ropeway is designed to handle a maximum capacity of about 1000 passengers per hour and travel 1.8 km in about 8-9 minutes.

How does this rope work and who maintains it?

Timber Trail is a two-way ropeway and its cable car is called Gundola Cabins.

Each compartment moves on two cables that are designed according to the specific load to be transported.

Two-way ropeway is one of the safest ropeway techniques worldwide. The ropes usually don’t break, unless the maintenance is very poor. Even if one of the cables breaks, the cabin will not fall because the other rope will carry it, said Sanjay Singh, GM (Ropeways Enterprises, Aarconinfra Ropeways).

He added that Aarconinfra Ropeways handed over the project to the resort owners after it was completed.

We implemented the project and handed it over to the resort owners. We signed deals after that where the owners said they didn’t want us to keep them. “They have their own technical manpower to maintain the rope rope,” Singh said.

What are the preventive measures in place to prevent accidents with ropes?

Section 20 of the Himachal Pradesh Ropeway Act 1968 covers accidents, rescues, compensation and liability of ropeway operator/promoter across the state.

About reporting a ropeway accident, the law states that “when any accident occurs while working on an air ropeway, the promoter must send a notification of the accident to the state and the inspector.” The promoter is required to report any incident to the county judge and local police without delay.

Section 20-A of the same act under the title “Bails” states: “If the State Government incurs any expenditure during any salvage, the promoter shall be liable to pay the expenditures incurred.”

Under Section 20-B of the Act, the promoter is, in the event of an accident, responsible for providing “comprehensive insurance cover, in such manner as may be determined, to persons who avail themselves of the ropeway services,” adding that “the State Government shall not be liable for any claim due to any accident or mishap in these ropeway projects.”

The rate of universal insurance is determined by the state based on the advice of the expert committee.

Are there more rope projects in Himachal?

In January, the Himachal government announced another 13 rope projects with a total length of 111.65 km at an estimated cost of Rs 5,644 crore.

This will include one in Banje Valley in Champa District (suggestion of a ropeway from Bhanudi to Kilar via Sach Pass – 21.7 km); Three ropeways in Kullu district (Prini and Hamta pass in Manali 5.8 km long; another in Manali 11.2 km long and the third proposed between Manali and Labadoug 2.7 km long).

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In Kangra District, a 13.5 km ropeway project between Palampur and Thuri to Chunga glacier has been proposed, while another 14 km rope project will be constructed in Dharamshala. At Shimla, a ropeway between the Narkanda-Hatu peaks covering 3.10 km has been proposed, while another 22.4 km long road has been proposed.

In Solan Province, the ropeway projects will be carried out in Kasauli (3 km), in Bilaspur between Lonhu and Bandla (3 km), and in Cheermore in Surmur with a length of 8 km. A 3 km rope project between Shekwari and Bhatkeadhar in Mandi district has also been proposed.

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