If you wish to explore Elephanta caves but are bored to spend more than an hour in the boat ride then here’s some good news for you. You can soon cut that long time of travelling to Elephanta caves in just 14 minutes. Now, you don’t need to cancel your plan fearing a long commute to reach there. At least, if you are in South Mumbai. The island of Gharapuri that has Elephanta caves, will soon be a zip and zoom away. The Mumbai Port Trust is going to build a ropeway that connects Sewri to Elephanta which will get you there in just 14 minutes. This is four times less than the hour-long duration that a ferry takes.
If all goes well then this will be country’s first ropeway over the sea which will connect the city to the island over a distance of eight kilometres. Set to be country’s first ropeway over the sea, this will connect Mumbai’s mainland with the Elephanta Island over a distance of eight kms.
As per the report published in leading daily, Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman, Mumbai Port Trust, said, “We are extremely keen on this project as it’s going to be a huge help to Mumbaikars, in addition to drawing travellers. As per plans, the two places will be connected by a ropeway, with poles in between. So far, we’ve received an expression of interest from 6-7 major bidders and have gone through their ideas. We will now invite regular bids for it.”
The ropeway is set to be quite high, roughly at 50-100 metres or more. It will also be crossing over the channel, so the height requirement has to be kept in mind for its design. Safety will be the first priority in the project as it is over the sea. The ropeway will offer a beautiful, sweeping view of the Eastern coastal side of the city and it will also have a scenic view of flamingoes during the season as it is more open with large mudflats.
Each ropeway can accommodate 20 people and might go up to 35 people depending upon traffic density and demand. The maximum capacity is 5,000-6,000 persons per hour for the ropeway. However, when it starts, it will be 2,000 people per hour. Each cable car will be air conditioned, which is also first of its kind. There also will be a communication facility in each cable car to tackle communication needs which might arise during an emergency.
If you’re wondering from where you can hop on, then the route will start at Haji Bunder, Sewri and will end at Gharapuri which is Elephanta Island. Currently, the way is accessible through an hour-long ferry ride from the Gateway of India. The MbPT are also planning to construct a 250-meter high tower, mid-sea. The tower will be made as per international standards. To add to the fun, it will have a viewing deck on the top as well as restaurants with a glass base on its lower deck. The speed of the proposed ropeway is 8 metres per second, faster than the norm, as the Indian Ropeway Act allows only 4-5 metres per second. But the proposed Sewri-Elephanta ropeway can operate at 8 metres per second, which lets you make the distance in 14-15 minutes. Steps are also being taken to amend the Ropeway Act in order to allow this speed.