Srinagar: The third Dogra ruler Maharaja Partap Singh had plans to connect Jammu and Srinagar by a 290 km ropeway, according to a document preserved by the Department of Archeology and Museums.
The Maharaja, who ruled the state from 1885 to 1925, had conceived the idea in 1910 and even entered into an agreement with a British Company, Forbes and Forbes Co. in 1912. He invited tenders and entrusted the job to Forbes and Forbes Co. which was then operating from Karachi.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was accordingly signed which required the Company to complete survey of the terrain within one year. The project was to be executed within four years, says the historical document.
Jammu-Srinagar ropeway had to pass through much more difficult terrain through the high Shivalik and Pir Panjal mountain ranges.
The MoU had a clause for termination of the agreement if the Company failed to complete the project within the stipulated time.
Another clause in the MoU reflects the concern of the Maharaja for the environment. The Company had to pay for any damage caused to the forest while surveying and executing the project.
The Maharaja, as per the MoU had to pay £ 100,000 and rest of the costs had to be borne by the Company.
The Maharaja had also fixed the fare. It was Rs 32 for the first class, Rs 16 for the second and Rs 5 for the third class respectively. He had announced special concession of 25 per cent for the government employees. The Maharaja wanted a similar rope-way from Srinagar to Baramulla, says the preserved document, adding that the Dogra ruler was worried by the frequent road blockades on the Srinagar-Jammu highway during winters.
However, the dream project could not be executed as the British government did not like it for political reasons.