Ropeway between Pampa & Sannidhanam: Forest dept to get alternative land at Chinnakanal

Illustration: Manorama.

Sabarimala: The Revenue Department will compensate the Forest Department with alternative land at Chinnakanal in the Idukki district, in return for forest land to construct a ropeway between Pampa and Sannidhanam.
The ropeway is meant to ferry goods to Sannidhanam. The state has initiated preliminary steps to get the central Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) approval for the project. The Kerala Court had approved the 2.90-kilometre ropeway.

The Lower Terminal is on the Pampa hilltop, and the Upper Terminal is near the police barracks at Sannidhanam. Five towers would be constructed atop Neelimala, Charalmedu on Swamy Ayyappan Road, Marakkoottam Junction, and 350 metres below Paramada on Chandranandan Road. The station behind the police barracks could be reached from the last tower.

The towers would be 40 to 70 metres tall, so only 20 trees needed to be felled. The project requires 1.5 acres of forest land. Alternative land should be provided for acquiring forest land.
The project's sketch and plan should be submitted to the MoEF & CC for its approval. The forest department identified suitable 4.53 hectares belonging to the revenue department abutting the forest at Chinnakanal, based on the Devaswom Board's request. The related file has reached the revenue minister's office.

The Revenue Department should issue an order allotting the land to the Devaswom Board before seeking the central ministry's approval.
The ropeway, with an estimated project cost of Rs 80 crore, is expected to be completed in two years. Eighteen Steps Damodar Cable Car Limited, an infra company, has expressed willingness to construct the ropeway, exclusive for ferrying materials, on a BOT basis. 

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