IANS

The Central government on Tuesday asked all states for safety audits of all ropeway projects to ensure safety and maintenance as per the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), and the necessary guidance may be taken from National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL).

Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, in an official communication to all the Chief Secretaries, said the state government must engage an experienced and qualified firm or organisation for carrying out safety audits of each ropeway project.

The entity operating the ropeway must comply with all the issues arising out of the audit, he further said.

"For each ropeway project, a maintenance manual must be prepared. In addition to the maintenance manual, there should be a maintenance programme so that the safety standards conform to good industry practices. The entity operating the ropeways must maintain a record of all the activities undertaken as part of the maintenance programme," Bhalla said in his letter to the states.

Citing the incident of mishap happened in Trikut Hills in Jharkhand's Deoghar district on April 10 in which trollies of the Trikut ropeway broke down resulting in 18 trollies carrying about 59 persons getting stranded in the air, the Home Secretary asked all Chief Secretaries to take a review of the situation in respect of all the ropeway projects in their respective states and ensure that Standard Operative Procedures, contingency plans for operation and maintenance of ropeways, and system of safety audits are in place.

"It should also be ensured that mock drills/mock exercises for handling contingency situations involving ropeways are periodically conducted. You may like to designate a senior officer of an appropriate level to regularly review the preparedness measures in respect of ropeway operations as per the SOPs and Contingency Plan," the Home Secretary further said in his letter.

He also asked the state administration for operation and maintenance of ropeway projects and the BIS Standards have already been prescribed by the NHIDCL which is the nodal organisation under the Ministry of Road, Transport, and Highways, under the Central government.

Referring to the Deoghar ropeway accident, he also said that after the valiant efforts made by Indian Air Force, NDRF, Indian Army, ITBP, and local administration, the trapped/stranded persons were rescued.

However, despite all the efforts, three precious lives were lost. This incident has highlighted the need to have a detailed Standard Operating Procedure, and a contingency plan on ropeway operations, so as to prevent occurrence of any such incident in the future, the Home Secretary added in his letter.

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