A proposal for introduction of rope car facility at Rockfort temple, popularly known as Uchhi Pillaiyar temple, remains a non-starter. At present, devotees have to climb 300-odd steps to reach the temple perched on the hill. Officials of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment department say at least three surveys, including a comprehensive review about five years ago, have been conducted.
Experts from various departments were involved in the last one. However, none of the findings have been made public.The project has been kept in cold storage apparently due to lack of space to set up rope stations at the foothill and atop the temple. Difficulty in getting a no-objection certificate from Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which maintains a few monuments of the temple, has also been cited.
Economic viability is another factor that is said to have caused the delay.Now, residents and tourists feel that time is ripe for introducing rope car facility. M. Mithun, a charted accountant from Tiruchi and regular visitor to the temple, points out that while the young and energetic may have no problem in climbing the steps, elderly devotees will find it difficult to reach the top. It will serve them well if the facility is available.“Tourists visiting Tiruchi invariably make it a point to visit Rockfort temple. It will be a big boost to the industry if the State government establishes the rope car facility,” he adds.
official says the plight of the elderly in climbing the flight of steps is understandable, but various factors must be weighed in while finalising the project. “It requires huge investment. And there is a big mismatch between revenue and investment. It may not be financially viable.” Tourism Minister Vellamandi N. Natarajan, who represents Tiruchi East (where the temple is located) in the State Assembly, asserts that the proposal has not been shelved.
He says he receives petitions calling for implementation of the project. And he hopes that some components of Smart City initiatives such as widening of roads around the temple will open up the possibility of finding suitable space for setting up the base station for the rope car project.He says he will hold consultations with senior tourism officials soon. The rope car project at the temple can certainly be implemented by sourcing funds from Central tourism projects, the Minister adds.
(source : The Hindu)