Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 19:
The ropeway and toy train at Odisha’s Nandankanan zoo remain non-functional due to lack of interest from private operators,; said Odisha Forest and Environment Minister Bikram Keshari Arukh yesterday while replying to a written question by Bhubaneswar North MLA Priyadarshi Mishra.
Once a major tourist attraction, the ropeway has been non-functional since January 1, 2011 after Kolkata based Rope Way and Resorts Private Limited stopped maintaining it.
The company had signed a 30-year contract with the authorities in 1986 and it started the operation on October 1, 1994. However, the company neither maintained the infrastructure nor paid the government its dues on time.
While the government issued another tender call notice on July 16 this year to start the operation again, it was cancelled as only one party expressed interested to operate it. Another tender notice has been issued and last date for application for the same has been set for August 20.
Besides, the hugely popular toy train is also lying unused since August 8, 2014.
While Gangadhar Rout operated the service between 2008-9 and 2013-14 after winning the tender, Citicon services private Ltd was given the responsibility for managing it for two years based on the recommendation of Nandankanan purchase committee.
The company, however, expressed it desire to cancel the contract after a year following which the Rs 1.25 lakh security deposited by it was seized.
The government made another attempt to start the service on August 22, 2014, but not even a single company expressed interest. On the second tender call, only one player expressed interest to operate the train but the tender was priced at Rs 5,50,530 which was way below the offset price.
Based on the recommendation of the purchase committee, this tender is now lying with the Forest and Environment Ministry for approval and the government is looking into it, Arukh said.
It may be noted that the government has decided to repair and maintain the infrastructure of the toy train in a bid to make the project safer and more attractive to private players.
A request letter had been sent to the Khurda division railway manager and plant officer of Mancheswar based Railway Carriage Repair Workshop to repair the track and bogies. The field survey has already been done and a budget would soon be prepared based on the survey report, said the Minister.