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Ropeway to attract more pilgrims
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Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC) is planning ropeways at Dungeshwari hill in Bodhgaya, Brahmayoni hill in Gaya, Barabar cave in Jehanabad and Mundeshwari hill in Kaimur.

The feasibility study and detailed project report (DPR) for these is expected by year-end. The four hills attract tourists and pilgrims from Buddha, Hindu, Jain and Sufi circuits. But the pilgrims have to climb the hills, a problem for the elderly. So, we have decided to install ropeways, BSTDC general manager Shailendra Kumar said.

All four hills have immense historical and religious significance. Lord Buddha meditated for several years at Dungeshwari, commonly known as Prag Bodhi or pre-enlightenment hill, before his enlightenment. The temple of Goddess Durga or Shakti atop Mundeshwari hill at Kaimur built in the Gupta period (4-5 Century AD) is believed to be the oldest in the country. Barabar cave at Jehanabad was built by the Mauryan dynasty in the 3rd century BC for monks of the Ajivaka sect, said Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, director, K.P. Jayaswal Research Institute, Patna.

BSTDC sources said the contract for conducting feasibility study and preparation of DPR for the ropeways is likely to be awarded in August. The selected firm would have to conduct a survey to select the best technically suitable alignment from the foot to the top of the hill, and then conduct a field survey to select location of terminal station and towers. The DPR would have to be submitted three months from the date of award of contract.

A major bottleneck is getting environmental clearance if the hills are forest land. As per preliminary assessment, Brahmayoni hill in Gaya is not forest area, said a BSTDC senior official. Work on the proposed cabin ropeway at Ratnagiri hills in Rajgir is pending for over two years over a green nod. Ditto with another ropeway project at Mandar hill in Banka district. The application was submitted in 2012.

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