DHR revamp on cards to maintain UNESCO heritage tag

DHR revamp on cards to maintain UNESCO heritage tag
Thu, Nov 7, 2019

Our Correspondent
DARJEELING: To commemorate two decades of being declared as a World Heritage Site, the Darjeeling HimalayanRailway (DHR) today started a month long programme on awareness of the toy train sothat the value of the train here is improved.
Katihar Divisional Railway Manager Rabindra Kumar Verma said, “TheWorld Heritage Status was given to the DHR on December 5, 1999 and tocommemorate the occasion the month long programme is being held from today. A programme will beheld every day within this period to make people and tourists aware ofthe DHR so its value is improved.”
Railways officials added that a MoUwould besigned with different stakeholders of the DHR including the Stategovernment on guidelines being created as part of the ComprehensiveConservation Management Plan (CCMP) being prepared by UNESCO to retainthe heritage status. They added that plans were on for renovation of Ghoom Museum andthe Kurseong printing press to be converted into a heritage museum.
Verma informed that the CCMP is being prepared in collaboration with the UNESCO in whichguidelines are being made so that the world heritage status isretained. There are different challenges like garbage dumping andencroachment which reduces the value of the property which is blockingthe scenic beauty for which tourists come here and these issues needsto be addressed, he added.
It was informed that talks are on with the State administration to sign theMoU so that they will also keep these things on check for maintaining the requirements of the UNESCO.
“They willbe given responsibilities to contain some developments so that theheritage value does not lessen. The beauty of this train is that thisis more than 100 years old and functioning and that no such type oftrain exists,” said Verma adding that discussions are going on theministry level as well along with the district level also withstakeholders like the municipalities and Forest department alsoinvolved.
Maintaining that there are buffer zones also like the Hill Cart roadwhich the UNESCO is proposing should be the boundary of the DHR,Vermasaid all stakeholders should beinvolved as the Railways alone could not ensure proper maintenance.
Verma said that the new initiatives undertaken by them include runningof special trains in the tourist season, introduction of more vistadome coaches and AC coaches, renovation of GhoomMusuem at a cost ofRs. 4.5 crore, conversion of the printing press at Kurseong to a heritagemuseum.He also claimed that the revenue generation of the DHR has increasedtoRs. 11 crore last year compared toRs. 5 to 6 crore it was generatingabout 4 years back.

Area: 7096 Sq Km
Altitude: 5,840 ft
Population: 6.10 Lakhs
Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 ft. to over 28,509 ft above sea level
Summer: Max- 21°C ; Min – 13°C
Winter: Max -13°C ; Min – 0.48°C
Rainfall: 325 cm per annum
Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi