SRINAGAR: As the winter season is approaching, the tourist flow at famous hill-resort of Gulmarg is expected to increase manifold but one of the main attractions of the ski-resort-Gondola cable car—is fast loosing attraction for the enthusiastic tourists. The technical snags in the cable car have left it jerky and dangerous.
Rajesh Kumar from Maharashtra who is visiting Kashmir second time along with his two minor kids says that his children were eagerly waiting for a Gandola ride ever since they landed in Kashmir.
“The enthusiasm evaporated within minutes after we embarked on the cable car. After every five seconds, it (Gandola) stops to move and after remaining hanging for around five to ten seconds, it goes on again for next ten seconds. And meanwhile, jerks caused by the hiccups make one to feel sorry for deciding to ride in the Gandola,” he says.
For the ride of around 10 minutes, he says, it took them around 30 minutes to reach high up in the mountains, to Kongdori in Phase I of the carriage way and meanwhile his two minor children were full of stress and looking for the reasons about happenings outside.
Similar concerns were raised by several other tourists that had come from different states of India to have a glimpse and a ride in famous Gandola. “The frequent breaks leave you tired,” says Mahesh, another visitor from Delhi.
In June, seven people including four tourists and two local tourist guides were killed in an accident on Gondola cable car after a giant conifer fell on the cable due to strong winds and it made the gondola cabin 7 skid off the cable and ram into cabin number 8, which was damaged partially.
The accident happened in the “first phase” part of the cable way, just a few hundred meters up from main Gulmarg. The service was again made operational in August.
Following the accident, government decided to replace all the 72 worn-out gondolas that were installed in 1989. Besides, government has recently acquired 36 new ones that were installed in 2014.
“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,” sources within the administration told Kashmir Reader.
Officials responsible for operating the Gandola say that there were some technical and manual glitches “which can’t be rectified” but claimed that it will decrease within the next few weeks.
“After restoration of some machines that had collapsed few weeks ago, the system developed some glitches which can’t be rectified manually but will vanish itself within next few weeks. Sometimes it (glitches) occurs due to human errors as well,” one of the operators said.
He said that they are doing their best to minimise these errors and offer a hassle-free journey to the tourists. “Hope before winters, everything becomes so normal,” he said.
Manager Cable Car Corporation, Riyaz Malik says that he was out for some days and that he will look into the matter. He said that they haven’t witnessed any such glitches in the past and if any error has developed in the machinery, they will rectify it.