Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pokhara cable car project moves a step forward

Pokhara cable car project moves a step forward
The government has invited requests for proposal (RFPs) to develop and manage a long planned cable car service in Pokhara under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model. The Ministry of Physical Planning, Works and Transport Management has short listed three joint venture (JV) consortiums as eligible to submit RFP after studying their expressions of interest (EoIs).

The three finalist groups are Lama Construction, United Builders and Engineers and Shahiba International, Laxmi International, Sujal Foods and French company Pomagalski SAS Exclusivity Co-operation, and Manakamana Darshan Chitwan Co-E and Austrian company Doppelmayr.

The government has been planning to build a 1.5-km long cable car service from Phewa Lake to the World Peace Stupa, Pumdi Bhumdi. The project, according to ministry officials, is estimated to cost more than Rs 1.2 billion excluding land acquisition. The ministry on Tuesday requested the JV consortiums to confirm their participation in the project within a week and submit their RFP within three months.

The firm winning the contract will first prepare a detailed study with the size of the budget, the technology to be used and the amount of land to be acquired for the project, according to ministry officials.

“We are aiming to select a firm by June to develop the cable car project under the public private partnership system,” said Hari Om Srivastav, joint secretary at the ministry. He added that it would take a maximum of three years after the final agreement to start commercial cable car service.

Earlier, the ministry had planned to assign the job to Chitwan Co-E which operates Manakamana Cable Car. However, after the National Planning Commission ordered that the contract should be awarded through competitive bidding, the ministry had invited EoIs in February last year in accordance with the Private Financing on Infrastructure Development and Operation Act.

Five national, international and joint venture firms had applied for the cable car project. Ministry officials said that the project would take three years depending on the need to carry out an environmental impact assessment or an initial environment examination and land acquisition work.

Meanwhile, Fun Park a company promoted by the IME Group, Bhat Bhateni Super Market, Hathway Investment, Elite Capital and Uttam London Company based in the UK have decided to build a cable car in Kathmandu connecting Thankot village with the top of Chandragiri hill.

Ministry officials said that both the cable car projects would be additional attractions for the country’s tourism sector.