Ropeways have been built since a very long time by Indian companies, and have proved to be safe and reliable, despite not receiving the favourable contracts like foreign players achieve from the government.
By Aditya Chamaria
The recent announcement by Road Transport, Highways and MSME’s Minister Nitin Gadkari brings in positivity in terms of the official recognition by the government. The potential of ropeways for purposes of de-congestion as well as last mile connectivity, for both man and material has come to the fore. Ropeways have always been considered a solution for inaccessible areas, so with this amendment, the scope for ropeway projects in India is expected to get widened in the future.
Under Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign, the prevalent local players would be in a better position to get more opportunities rather than foreign players. Ropeways have been built since a very long time by Indian companies, and have proved to be safe and reliable, despite not receiving the favourable contracts like foreign players achieve from the government. The Indian ropeway industry has been much ignored in the past, and Indian players are eagerly hoping that Mr. Nitin Gadkari will alter these unfair contractual terms, leveling the playing field for Indian players and helping the homegrown firms be competitive on a global scale.
Ropeways after being brought under the ambit of Ministry of Highways, would be in a position to derive some ease in terms of the number and gestation periods of clearances and licenses needed, if this is granted officially, the work on ropeways will speed up, making India a tourist-friendly and logistically mature international destination.
Some popular demands from homegrown players of the ropeway industry are- GST on ropeways should be reduced significantly. It stands currently at 18% which serves as a major deterrent, which is higher than that on air travel. Ropeways cater to all strata of society, and should be given the same treatment as base railway fares, which are not taxed for these purposes (2nd class), and are at 5% with input tax credit for AC and first class.
Ropeways are taken as a mode of transportation seriously only by countries which are environmentally conscious.It is extremely prudent of Indian government to direct their attention towards it. They are a time-saving mode of transport, and can be a game changer for the metros which are corporate hubs. Ropeways will also boost the stature of Tier II-III cities & remote locations by giving impetus to the existing business activities and tourism.
(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.)