By Aditya Chamaria
The year 2020 brought in a lot of surprises that nobody had imagined. After being stuck in the house for almost a year, people are finally beginning to travel again to rejuvenate and refresh them. Unarguably, COVID-19 is not over yet and all the safety measures must be taken to contain the spread of the deadly virus but it is not something that is stopping travelers anymore. Keeping personal safety aside, tourism infrastructure developers also need to ensure the complete safety of the visitors and passengers at these sites. Infrastructural safety is an amalgamation of the right technique with the right technology.
The pace with which technology is advancing, it is inexorable to restrict it from converging into various sectors. Technology has made its way in almost all sectors. From education to real estate, from smartphones to smartwatches, smart appliances, and smart homes, the possibilities are endless! Similarly, it is equally important to have a technologically safe and sound infrastructure in place.
Aerial Ropeways provide for most accessible and comfortable modes of transport to reach the most inaccessible tourist destinations while giving a one of its kind experience. To make this experience safer and even more pleasant, it is crucial to adopt the best possible technology option available. Out of many available options, choosing and adopting a particular technology is dependent on the location of the aerial ropeway and topography of the place. It takes many years of research and development to create a product that meets all the criteria and is technologically advanced, economically feasible, and environmentally friendly. Using the right kind of technology ensures safety, reliability, and sustainability while reducing maintenance costs caused by regular wear and tear. The recent step undertaken by the Government to have Ropeways under the ambit of the Highways Ministry has only proved to be good news. This can ensure that the ropeways are up to the quality mark and utmost safety can be assured.
Most of the tourist destinations in the northern and north-eastern parts of the country are at high altitude regions, it is almost impossible to not depend on technology.
Regions at high altitudes pose a major challenge for safety concerns and hence it is of uttermost importance to have a safe, secure, technologically-enabled infrastructure in place.
Incorporating technology into the otherwise regular infrastructure is a challenge in itself and takes a lot of changes in the development process. Being a leader in ropeway manufacturing, DRIL also faces a lot of challenges and problems to ensure installation of a safe and strong product. Varied locations and altitudes present different problems. In high altitude regions, heat transfer capacity and low air density poses a major challenge while in low-temperature zones, ideally up to -20 degree centigrade, the strength of civil structure requires special attention since the hydration process of the cement slows down. This affects the strength and durability of concrete, hence, needs to be taken into consideration. Condensation formation is another challenge that is often faced in low-temperature areas which further acts as an obstacle to the process.
When it comes to the kind of materials that should be used, priority should be given to the hardware. The quality of the materials like steel, cement, cables, lubricants, motor, etc. should not be compromised at all.
There is still a lack of foresight when it comes to merging technology with infrastructure but small steps are being taken. Acceptance and adoption are the two key elements that are needed to make it as accessible to ensure safety in all infrastructural projects, especially in high altitude regions.
(The author is Managing Director, Damodar Ropeways & Infra Limited. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)