After the Jharkhand ropeway incident, the Union Home Ministry on Tuesday issued an advisory to states and Union Territories stating that the BIS Standards already prescribed for the operation and maintenance of ropeway projects need to be scrupulously adhered to.
The advisory issued by Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla reads that on April 10, a mishap happened in Trikut Hills in Deoghar, Jharkhand, in which trollies of the Trikut ropeway broke down resulting in 18 trollies carrying about 59 persons getting stranded mid air.
After the valiant efforts made by Indian Air Force, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Indian Army, Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and local administration, the stranded persons were rescued. The MHA advisory said three lives were lost in the accident despite all the rescue efforts. This incident has highlighted the need to have a detailed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and a contingency plan on ropeway operations, so as to prevent the occurrence of any such incident in the future.
“I may like to bring to your notice that for operation and maintenance of ropeway projects, BIS Standards have already been prescribed, which need to be scrupulously adhered to,” the Home Secretary Bhalla said in the advisory. He added that the necessary guidance in this regard may be taken from the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL), which is the nodal organisation under the Ministry of Road, Transport, and Highways, Government of India.
The State government must engage an experienced and qualified firm or organization for carrying out safety audit of each ropeway project. The entity operating the ropeway must comply with all the issues arising out of the audit, he added. 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, the advisory reads, the advisory reads.
“I would, therefore, urge you to take a review of the situation in respect of all the ropeway projects in your State and ensure that SOPS, Contingency Plans for operation and maintenance of ropeways, and system of safety audits are in place,” he said. 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, he said.