| File picture of the Nandankanan ropeway |
Bhubaneswar, Aug. 17: Nandankanan Zoological Park authorities have been doing nothing to repair the cable car there that has been lying defunct for the past year and a half.
The cable car was a major attraction at the zoo and hundreds of people took the ride when it worked.
It started operating at Nandankanan in 1994 but the service was stopped following a mishap on October 24, 2010, in which 13 tourists had a providential escape.
The joyride resumed in December 2010 only to be suspended in February 2011 with the authorities citing technical reasons.
“This is one of the few places in the state where you could ride a cable car. But it’s not working anymore,” said Subhadarshini Rath, a 13-year-old from Keonjhar, who visited the zoo today.
Sources said the zoo authorities have cancelled the contract with Calcutta-based Ropeway Resorts Private Limited, which operated the cable car. The company was awarded the contract for 30 years for a payment of Rs 2 lakh a month.
There were six cars running on the cable wires across the Kanjia lake at the zoo. The operators used to charge Rs 30 per person for a single trip. The 620-meter ropeway transported the passengers across the lake to the botanical garden on the other side of Nandankanan.
“The authorities must resume the service at the earliest to attract more visitors to the park. Visitors are not only attracted to the wildlife but also the facilities such as boating, toy train and the cable car ride,” said Vikash Das, a tourist from Nayagarh district.
The disruption in the service has also affected the livelihood of people engaged in running the cable car. Around 15 persons were engaged to run the service by the cable car operators. Sources said nearly 1.3 lakh people rode the cable car each year.
The zoo authorities said they had brought the matter to the notice of the forest and environment department. “We have discussed the matter and also conveyed our suggestions to the department that will take the final call,” said deputy director of the zoo Chitta Ranjan Mishra.