Shimla, July 26 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh and Punjab Thursday inked a pact here to link two pilgrimage centres with a 3.75-km ropeway.
The Rs.85 crore ropeway would link Punjab's Anandpur Sahib town with Hindu shrine Naina Devi in Himachal Pradesh.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and his Punjab counterpart Parkash Singh Badal said it was a historical pact that added another chapter to the history of regional cooperation.
The pact was signed by tourism directors from Himachal and Punjab, Arun Sharma and K.S. Sra, on behalf of their respective governments in the presence of the two chief ministers.
The ropeway, to be constructed within three years, is a joint-venture. Of the 3,751 metre-long ropeway, 274.582 metres falls in Punjab and the remaining 3,476.435 metres in Himachal.
The cost of the project, pending for over a decade, is to be shared on a 50:50 basis by the two states, a government spokesperson told IANS.
The project would be executed on the public-private partnership model and build-operate-and-transfer basis by creating a special purpose vehicle.
Expressing happiness over the signing of the memorandum of understanding, Badal said the project would strengthen the bond of cooperation between the two states.
He said the Punjab government had always maintained brotherly relations with Himachal and all inter-state issues were resolved in a harmonious atmosphere.
Dhumal said the ropeway would not only reduce the distance between the two pilgrimage centres but also check pollution.
"This would give boost to religious tourism in both the states," he said.
He said the Himachal government would look forward to similar joint ventures to connect Kasauli town to Chandigarh through a ropeway.
The construction of the ropeway would ensure a comfortable journey for lakhs of pilgrims from Punjab and Haryana who visit the Naina Devi temple in Bilaspur district every year.
It would also boost tourism in both states.