The first phase of the ropeway will end at Garbett Point, which does not have any hotel as yet.
Mumbai: The Neral-Matheran ropeway is not a boon for Matheran, according to some locals, who claim that it could adversely impact the untouched Garbett Point region, which has a distinctive flora. The first phase of the ropeway will end at Garbett Point, which does not have any hotel as yet. It is a place generally frequented by trekkers during the monsoon. Locals have even written to the district collector to highlight their reservations against the project.
“There are no hotels or any construction at the Point. It is the most untouched region. The ropeway will only lead to overcrowding and hamper the eco system there,” said Maria Vaz, a hotelier based in Matheran.
According to the locals, the ropeway will kill the hotel business in Mathe-ran and overcrowd the hill station. “People will not stay in Matheran if the ro-peway comes, it will beco-me a one day trip,” added Ms Vaz. The plateau is located at a distance of 17 km from Matheran and offers a 36o degree view of the nearby mountain ranges and various waterfalls. Hugh Poyntz Malet discovered the scenic point back in 1850 for leisure and relaxation.
“The Garbett Point houses distinctive flora species and has witnessed minimum human intervention over the years. The ropeway project will increase the number of visitors to the plateau affecting the ecosystem,” said Rohit Joshi, a Thane-based environmentalist. He added, “The cabins should be completely closed, otherwise people will litter the place by throwing wrappers and other waste outside.”
However, some locals have expressed relief and welcomed the project. “The road accessibility to reach the top is not good at all and are prone to landslides,” said an official from the municipal council of Matheran.