Govt. to further study € 52 m first-ever cable car project in Nuwara Eliya

Saturday, 1 May 2021 00:56 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Decides to assess environment, financial and operational feasibility
  • To incorporate cable car project into Extra Ordinary Gazette No. 1487/10 of 2007 by CEA
  • UDA vested to provide close to 4 hectares of land for the project

By Charumini de Silva

The Government has decided to study further the financial viability of the first-ever cable car project from Nanu Oya to Nuwara Eliya with an investment of € 52 million via an Austria-Sri Lanka joint venture.

Cabinet this week revalidated the project that was approved in 2019, subject to an assessment on environment, financial and operational feasibility. The venture is by Dopelme Cable Car Company of Austria and its local partner Outdoor Engineering Lanka Ltd.

As a first step, the Government has decided to incorporate the cable car project into the Extra Ordinary Gazette No. 1487/ 10 dated 5 March 2007 by the Central Environmental Authority (CEA). Further, the Urban Development Authority (UDA) has been vested to provide close to four hectares of necessary lands required for the project.

Following Cabinet approval in July 2019 under the Yahapalanaya Government, the project was inked in October the same year via a tripartite agreement signed by former Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake, Outdoor Engineering AG President Oswald Graber and Nuwara Eliya Municipal Council Mayor Chandana Lal Karunaratne.

Dissanayake sought approval from all relevant line ministries and agencies including the Tourism Development and Wildlife Ministry, CEA, Civil Aviation Authority and Nuwara Eliya Municipal Council.

According to the original tripartite agreement the cable car system was to be built on 21 towers connecting the Nanu Oya train station, Nuwara Eliya Race Course and Single Tree Mountain.

However, under the new administration Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said the project was part of the Government’s special program to popularise over 6,000 new eco-friendly tourist attraction sites countrywide.

“The project expects to develop these 6,059 new tourist attraction sites in collaboration with institutions such as wildlife, forest conservation and archaeology,” Ranatunga said.

He also said that the Government had decided to introduce new tourist zones for local and foreign tourists and the process of identifying those new tourist zones was underway.

The seven tourist zones that are currently in operation in the country are Nuwara Eliya, Ella, Arugam Bay, Passikudah, Kalpitiya, Yala and Bentota.