The government has begun work to construct an urban cable car metro system in the Kathmandu valley. As part of the first phase of the project, a feasibility study will be carried out for two routes, one from Narayan Gopal Chok to Lagankhel through Ratna Park and another connecting Kalanki and Bouddha through Ratna Park.
The government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a consortium of two French companies, French Engineering Companies Consortium of MDP and Systra, to examine the viability of the proposed metro system.
Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) Senior Divisional Engineer Suresh Paudel and MDP Chairman Pascal Roux signed the accord on Monday amid a function attended by French Ambassador Martine Bassereau and Nepali government officials.
The technical and economic feasibility study is scheduled to start in March and is expected to take nine months, said the French Embassy.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, MoPIT Secretary Tulasi Sitaula said the government had planned to establish a cable car system for mass transit in a bid to minimise the growing traffic congestion in the valley.
“In addition, the environment friendly project is expected promote tourism,” said Sitaula, adding that the project was one of the government’s dream projects.
The feasibility study will examine the technical and economic viability of the cable car system. “Based on the viability of the project, we may extend the cable car line to other areas,” said Sitaula.
French Ambassador Bassereau said the French government was keen on investing in Nepal. “The planned project is a strategic priority for the French government that has given importance to strengthening economic diplomacy with Nepal,” he added.
Meanwhile, Pauline Robert Etcheto, project manager of Consulting Services France under Systra, presented a paper highlighting the cost effectiveness of cable metro lines compared to road based and underground transport systems.
“Besides, it will ensure comfort and safety and be less time consuming,” she added. According to her, it will take two years to build the project.
Meanwhile, the MoPIT plans to form a steering committee to implement the project. However, its structure has not been fixed. As per the project’s work plan, the committee will finalise the overall reviews of the urban cable car by April. Similarly, it will prepare a traffic forecast model by mid-June while it has targeted completing the study on the selection of the pilot line based on a multi-criteria analysis by June. The results of the technical feasibility study will be completed by September.
French consulting company MDP is reported to have built similar public transport systems in Belgium, China, India, Russia, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Kosovo, USA, Canada, Venezuela, Peru and Chile. Similarly, Systra, another French consultant company involved in public transport civil engineering, is reported to have worked in 150 countries and 350 cities.