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Jharkhand govt blacklists cable car operator two years after Trikut ropeway tragedy

A major cable car accident at Trikut Hills in April 2022 had claimed three lives, while over 60 people were rescued after being stranded mid-air for about 46 hours in joint operations by NDRF, Army, Air Force and administration.
Last Updated : 27 June 2024, 11:57 IST

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Ranchi: The Jharkhand government has blacklisted Damodar Ropeways and Infra Ltd (DRIL), the cable car operator at Trikut Hills in Deoghar district, for five years and slapped a fine of over Rs 9 crore on it, a senior official said on Thursday.

A major cable car accident at Trikut Hills in April 2022 had claimed three lives, while over 60 people were rescued after being stranded mid-air for about 46 hours in joint operations by NDRF, Army, Air Force and administration.

The 766-metre Trikut ropeway is India’s highest vertical ropeway, according to the state’s tourism department.

An enquiry committee was set up by the Department of Tourism to probe into the reasons behind the accident.

There were allegations of negligence on the part of DRIL leading to the accident. The company, however, denied the charge.

"The Jharkhand Tourism Development Corporation (JTDC) board has taken a decision to blacklist DRIL for five years. It has also imposed a penalty of over Rs 9 crore on it," Tourism Secretary Manoj Kumar told PTI.

JTDC managing director has issued a letter to the company to deposit Rs 9.11 crore, failing which a civil damage suit will be filed against DRIL, he said.

DRIL Managing Director Aditya Chamaria said the action was "unfortunate" and against natural justice and claimed they were not given a chance of hearing either by the enquiry committee or by the JTDC.

"We are moving the court against that order. The allegations of negligence are totally false. We are running 14 ropeways all over India. ...It (DRIL) holds 30-40 per cent market share of the ropeway industry. Even the enquiry committee mentioned in its report that it is the rarest of the rare category of defect. On the basis of the rarest category of defect, how can you blacklist a firm? It is a harsh decision," Chamaria told PTI.

He claimed that there is no basis for a Rs 9 crore penalty that includes Rs 5 crore repair and maintenance charges.

A government report mentions that on April 10, 2022 the passenger Ropeway at Trikut Hill, Near Deoghar (Jharkhand) stopped while in operation leaving 59 passengers stranded mid-air on the Ropeway.

"Ten passengers were rescued by District administration, local police and National Disaster Response Force personnel on April 10, 2022 and one passenger died," the report said.

It said, "Fourty-six passengers could be safely evacuated while two passengers died in the course of the rescue operation which continued till April 12, 2022." it mentioned.

Meanwhile, the JTDC, in an affidavit before the Jharkhand High Court, has said that it is not expected that DRIL, having experience of operations and management of ropeways, does not have a proper system of checking the prime technical reason for the accident.

The Jharkhand High Court had taken suo motu cognisance of the Deoghar ropeway incident and ordered an inquiry into the matter.

"The inquiry committee report suggests sufficient grounds which lead to the conclusion that the operator has shown negligence, carelessness and unprofessional approach in operation and maintenance of Trikut Ropeway, which include the technical reasons as well as operation and maintenance reasons," the affidavit said.

The JTDC also said that DRIL did not provide training details of the personnel who were engaged in the Trikut ropeway operation.

"It is further stated that Damodar Ropeways & Infra Ltd shall also be debarred/blacklisted for a period of 5 years of participating in any tender/any work of JTDC for its negligence, carelessness and unprofessional approach in the matter,” the state’s tourism development corporation said.

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Published 27 June 2024, 11:57 IST

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