DHR vows to stop trucks on Tindharia rail
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway today said it would not allow heavy vehicles to ply on the road on which the toy train tracks had been laid at the landslide-hit portion of NH55 at Tindharia as this would put the locomotive workshop there at the risk of collapsing.
- Published 20.08.16
Siliguri, Aug. 19: The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway today said it would not allow heavy vehicles to ply on the road on which the toy train tracks had been laid at the landslide-hit portion of NH55 at Tindharia as this would put the locomotive workshop there at the risk of collapsing.
According to DHR officials, the Unesco has already expressed concern over the movement of heavy vehicles on the path of the heritage railway at Tindharia - located 30km from here - saying it can cause the collapse of the road and the locomotive workshop which is part of the heritage property.
"We will not allow the heavy vehicles on the road built by the railways for the toy trains at Tindharia at any cost because that area is very unstable. If we allow the movement of vehicles other than the toy trains, it can topple the balance causing the road to cave in and the locomotive workshop of the DHR to collapse. In fact, the Unesco officials are aware that trucks have plied on the 100 meter road built by the railways on August 16 and they have expressed concern for the locomotive workshop. This does not augur well for the heritage railway," said Narendra Mohan, the area officer of the DHR today.
"It is very unfair that the railways are being pressured to provide road for the plying of vehicles. That responsibility should be the state PWD's. But the PWD is keeping mum on the issue. Under the circumstances, we have decided not to operate direct trains from Siliguri to Darjeeling and vice-versa till the stalemate is over," he added.
On August 16, 200-odd trucks belonging to members of the Darjeeling Truck Drivers' Association (Kurseong unit) ran though the tracks on the 100 meter stretch. Heavy vehicles had not been plying on the highway since the landslide at Tindharia in September 2011 as the road is yet to be restored.
Trucks used to travel between Siliguri and Kurseong through the Rohini Road but that, too, was closed on July 26. Now, they have to take circuitous route via Mirik and Mungpoo to reach Kurseong.
The DHR authorities deployed RPF personnel to prevent the trucks from plying on the tracks at Tindharia after August 16. This has led the truck drivers to launch agitation at the spot. Discussions between the truck drivers, DHR authorities and local people on the issue at Tindharia were inconclusive yesterday.
The massive landslide at the highway on September 2011 had washed away the road and the tracks and put the 100-year-old workshop at the risk of collapsing. Direct toy train service from Siliguri to Darjeeling had been stopped since June 2010 because of a landslide at Paglajhora, 35km from here, on NH55.
In March 2013, Unesco had written to the Indian railways for immediate restoration of the tracks at the two landslide-hit spots on the highway and resume direct service between Siliguri and Darjeeling.
Following the rap from Unesco, the DHR cut the hillside, including a portion of the workshop, and created a 10ft space for the new tracks.