SRINAGAR: After the gondola accident at picturesque Gulmarg that killed seven tourists earlier this year, the government has decided to replace all the worn-out gondolas, Kashmir Reader has learnt.
Gondola is the word used in Gulmarg for the cable carriage that takes tourists high up in the mountains, to Kongdori in Phase I of the carriage way, and to Afarwat in Phase II. The cable cars are so called because they are shaped like the Venetian gondolas, narrow boats raised at both ends.
Official sources informed that Gulmarg has 72 old gondolas and 36 new ones. All the 72 old gondolas are going to be replaced with new ones.
“The deal with the company was signed a few weeks ago. The government will get them at 2014 prices. Now the order needs to be vetted by the chief minister. Once that is done, the company will start putting them in place,” a source said.
The gondola that met with an accident was from the lot of the 72 worn-out gondolas.
Riyaz Ahmad, General Manager of Jammu and Kashmir State Cable Car Corporation, told Kashmir Reader that 72 gondolas were installed in 1989, and 36 gondolas in 2014.
The Gulmarg Gondola, as the service is called, was shut in June following the accident that claimed seven lives. Seven tourists, four of them from a Delhi family, were killed when a cable car snapped after a tree fell on it. The gondola service was reopened for public in August.
The accident had come at a time when Kashmir’s tourism industry was already in a crisis, due to continued anti-India protests, militancy, and counter-insurgency operations.
“Next year, the Gulmarg will have new gondolas functional. The decision was taken after it was observed that the gondolas of one particular stretch had not been replaced since 1989,” the sources informed.