The ropeway that will make for easier access to Barsana’s Radha Rani temple has been on hold for the last 2 years, despite having approval. It has been 4 years since the approval process began, but, delays caused by interdepartmental negotiations have been preventing the 13 crore project from getting underway.
The Forestry Department has now agreed to accept rent for the 0.9 hectares of land that will be used for the ropeway. A lease has been drawn up and rent will be paid according to the circle rate. It has been agreed that Rs 24 lakh will be paid to the Forestry Department for the land. Yashu Rustagi, Vice Chairman of the Development Authority said that the negotiation process is being carried out according to the guidelines set by the government.
While most local people are in favour of the project, the cutting of old growth trees has made the ropeway controversial. In 2015, the municipality sanctioned Rs. 2.25 crore for planting trees in Govardhan Parikrama and Vrindavan. The fund has been allotted as a compensation for trees cut in the path of the ropeway.
Nobody wants to see trees cut down, but, currently, devotees have to climb 172 steps to reach the temple which is situated at a height of 45 meters, and this causes inconvenience to the old, the infirm, and children.
Bhavana Dasi, who makes the trip from Vrindavan to Barsana every month, said, “We enjoy doing ‘pedal yatra’ (on foot journey) from Barsana village to the temple, however, it should be a matter of choice, not by force. When I see overweight people being carried up the hill, my heart goes out to them and also to the person carrying them. I hope the palanquin carriers find jobs with the ropeway; that would be ideal.”