Gondola grounded till French expert’s nod

Pomagalski to inspect Gulmarg’s famed tourist attraction

The Gulmarg Gondola service, suspended after the recent accident that claimed seven lives, will be resumed only after the go-ahead by a team of French experts.
“The service will remain suspended till the enquiry is completed and service will be resumed only after a go-ahead by the French team, which is arriving soon,” said a senior official of the Jammu and Kashmir State Cable Car Corporation (JKSCCC).
A team of the French firm Pomagalski would conduct the inspection. Seven persons, including four members of a family, were killed in a tragic mishap at the famed ski resort in north Kashmir on June 25. As per the police, 150 persons had been rescued after the accident.
Though tourism officials had maintained that the accident occurred after a pine tree uprooted by strong winds hit the cable car lift, the JKSCCC official said French experts had been called to thoroughly examine the incident so that such an accident was not repeated.
The government constituted a committee headed by Dheeraj Gupta, Commissioner-Secretary, Power Development Department, to make recommendations with regard to upgrade of maintenance arrangements and additional safety measures for cable car operations in Gulmarg to prevent such an accident.
The committee had been asked to submit its report to the government in 15 days. Gupta said the inquiry was under way and the report would be submitted to the government.
After the accident, Director Tourism Mahmood Shah had said the accident happened due to strong winds, which uprooted the tree that later fell on ropes between towers 7 and 8 of the cable car project. One cabin got derailed from the pulley and crashed, resulting in the tragic death of seven persons, he had said.
Officials said some pine trees close to the gondola were likely to be cut as a safety measure once the government probe was completed.
The two-stage gondola lift in Gulmarg is a popular attraction for tourists as well as locals as it offers a breath-taking view of the Kongdoori Mountain and Afarwat Peak, close to the Line of Control.

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