west-bengal-news

Unesco pulls up Darjeeling railway over encroachment

Siliguri, Dec 19 : The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is in trouble with Unesco. A Unesco team Thursday expressed concern over encroachments on the world heritage site and pulled up railway officials over slow restoration of tracks hit by landslides.


A three-member Unesco delegation led by Heritage Committee chief Haribansh Kirat inspected the narrow gauge railway that runs between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling in West Bengal.

The team expressed displeasure over the slow progress of restoration work of tracks badly affected by landslides in 2010 that disrupted train services.

The team inspected tracks in Kurseong, Ghoom and Darjeeling.

It said illegal shops and houses have been constructed near the tracks at many places which have considerably slowed down the speed of the trains.

"There are so many encroachments. A world heritage site should be free from this," said Kirat.

He said he will send a detailed report regarding the encroachments to the chief of the Unesco heritage committee.

Built between 1879 and 1881, the 78-km-long Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is only the second railway to have the honour of world heritage site bestowed upon it, the first being Semmering Railway of Austria.

The Unesco team also said the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was yet to submit a proposal on how it proposed to spend the $6 million sanctioned to it by Unesco.

Railway officials assured the team they were committed to make efforts to attract tourists from across the globe.

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is also planning to run a Red Panda special train from Darjeeling to Kurseong giving passengers a glimpse of the endangered species.

"We are planning to soon start the Red Panda special train," said Darjeeling station master Suman Pradhan.

Meanwhile, South Eastern Railway's Area Manager (Siliguri) Partha Sarathi Seal said train services between the landslide-affected Siliguri and Gayabari was likely to resume by Dec 25.

"Restoration work between Gayabari and Kurseong is in full swing and only 30 percent of work is left," said Seal.

Unesco had earlier issued a warning to the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway threatening to withdraw the world heritage site tag following disruption of train services between Darjeeling and Siliguri due to the 2010 landslides. Subsequently, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway allocated Rs.85 crore for restoration work.

Another Unesco delegation is slated to make a re-inspection in January.

--IANS (Posted on 19-12-2013)

west-bengal-news headlines

Over half vote for four Bengal seats

Long queues as Bengal votes

Voting in West Bengal begins for LS, assembly

Bengali film 'Jatishwar' wins four National Awards

Opposition campaign is like hot-air balloon, waiting to be burst:

Celebs make it a starry poll in Bengal

EC deputes special observer for Bengal polls

BJP'S Babul Supriyo declares assets over Rs.7.3 crore

NGO seeks EC's help to protect Darjeeling's strays

Campaigning with mom Moon Moon humbling experience: Riya Sen

'Jaatishwar' reaps accolades on social networks

Moon Moon's assets worth over Rs.1 crore

Quick Links: Goa | Munnar | Pondicherry | Free Yearly Horoscope '2014

Comments

Your e-mail:


Your Full Name:


Type verification image:
verification image, type it in the box

Message:

Back to Top