String-based technology podway to be introduced in Nepal

High-tech string-based podway to be introduced in Nepal

There has been a discourse about mono-rail, and metro-rail to be operated in the Kathmandu Valley over the last few years, but we have not heard much about 'podway' yet. Minister for Urban Development Metmani Chaudhary had said that the podway could be used as a means of mass transport.

According to Chaudhary, the podway can be developed as a public transport to reduce traffic jams and pollution in the federal capital. On September 27, the Ministry of Urban Development sent a letter to the Ministry of Finance requesting the latter to allocate a budget for making a feasibility study of a micro-rail. "Rs 310 million budget needs to be arranged through the urban development programs to build micro rail (based on string technology) in different places in the Kathmandu Valley for the traffic management," said the secretary-level meeting However, no official decision has been taken by the Ministry of Finance regarding this

According to the economic survey of the current fiscal year, about four million vehicles have been registered. For the last year, only 1.4 percent of registered vehicles are public transport (buses) and 80 percent are two-wheelers, creating massive traffic pressure in the Kathmandu Valley.

What is Podway transport?

Belarus scientist Anatoli Unitsky invented a string-based transport system. Kathmandu Padway Company is the authorized partner of the Unitsky String Technology in Nepal. Earlier, Gokaneshwor Municipality had allocated a budget for the Podway operation. "We are bringing a new technology after analyzing the failure of the technology introduced in Nepal, earlier", Nil Bhattarai, co-founder and vice president of Kathmandu Podway Company P. Ltd., told Nepalkhabar.

Cheaper than cable car
A string-based monorail is a self-automated means of transport, resembling a cable car. The cable car rotates on a string while the car itself rotates on the string in the podway technology. Cable cars are too expensive to use for mass transportation. The cost of operating podway can be reduced by 85 percent compared to cable car. "Podway can be built at 4 percent of the cost of building an underground metro-rail," Bhattarai said. Further, operating podway costs 2 to 3 times less than the operation cost of public transport. Five companies in the world are working on the string-based technology. Of them, Unitsky's technology is going to be brought into Nepal. The Ministry of Urban Development has taken it forward.

Aiming to carry passengers at Rs 10 per km

A pre-feasibility study conducted by the Chinese team to operate the monorail in Nepal had estimated a cost of 87 billion for 28 km. The podway can be operated in the middle of the existing road. Bhattarai said that podway can be operated by placing poles on both sides of the river. He said that the operation cost is low as the electricity consumption is very low in the electric podway. The pole height can be set according to the city and geographical conditions. Due to this, the podway can be operated from a height of 20 feet, he informed. Podway travels at the speed of 150 km per hour. A pod has four motors. Three break down and one makes it to the station. It has a technology that can run up to 100 km from backup and is equipped with GPRS, Internet and Radio Web. Most of the countries in the world have announced that they will eliminate petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030.

Rs 400 million to build a podway per kilometer

Unitsky String Technologies is an international engineering company which has been designing, constructing and maintaining the overpass transportation system. The company has been working on elevated electric rail technology. Dr. Anatoli Unitsky is its founder. He holds more than 200 innovation patents. Currently, more than 600 engineers are working on the development of this technology. The test must be certified to operate professionally. Podway's research and development center is in Belarus.

It operates in Belarus and Dubai. Bhattarai says that the company is developing technology so that it can be operated anywhere in the world. A Detailed Project Report (DPR) is being prepared for the 100 km Podway in Dubai. Its work is being done in half a dozen countries including Israel and Mauritius. Three million dollars is required to construct a podway per kilometer. According to this, it takes Rs 40 million rupees to make 1 km. The cost is of European standard. The company claims that the cost will be reduced by using materials found in Nepal itself. The string-based technology has already been certified in Europe and America in 2020. Apart from that, Chinese, Indian, Australian, Canadian, Russian standards have been adopted. Earthquake resistance is needed in Nepal. UNESCO has also allowed it to be listed as a World Heritage Site.

Nepalis can invest with FDI
Canadian citizen Jan Peter Wall is the president of the Kathmandu Podway company. Bhattarai, the vice president of the company, said that the aim of the project is to introduce high-tech mass transportation in Nepal. He says that a kind of understanding has been reached with investors from Thailand, Canada, and Switzerland. “Once the DPR is approved, we can bring foreign investment into it,” said Bhattarai. Kathmandu Podway is a technology partner of Nepal. He said that it is open to any bank or businessman to invest in the Himalayan country. "It does not cause pollution. Hence, it is necessary in the Kathmandu Valley,” said Bhattarai. He suggested that podway can be used as a cargo vehicle as well as a means of public transport. Up to 50 tons is carried between two poles. The distance between 2 poles can be up to 3 km. It can be used on the East-West highway', he added.

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