NATIONAL HERITAGE DISGRACE: Landslide brake on hill ride – Bengal now blames landslides but does nothing definitive to solve problem, till the next monsoons rains in May-June 2011 ?!! – What a National Disgrace International consequences – with of’course our typical Bengal parochialism ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, Dec. 6: The landslide at 14th Mile on NH55 has halted the plans of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway authorities to introduce vestibule coaches waiting for their maiden run.
“One rake that comprises four coaches has been modified and is all set to make its first uphill journey. But our plan has been delayed because of the major breach at 14th Mile near Paglajhora. We can run the coaches only after the tracks have been repaired,” said R.K. Roy, the assistant divisional mechanical engineer at the DHR’s Tindharia workshop.
Twelve vestibule coaches had been brought from the Kurdavari railway coach factory in Pune in August last year but after unsuccessful trial runs to Rong Tong, 25km from Siliguri, they were taken to the workshop for modifications.
“Some technical problems were detected when we had made the trial run but those have been corrected. The modifications in the remaining eight coaches, too, are almost over,” Roy said.
The vestibule coaches are interconnected with a 2.5ft-long corridor. Such facility is not available in the old coaches where passengers have to get down from the train to enter the next coach. Glass ceilings above the seats, which offer overhead view of the landscape, is another facility in the vestibule coaches.
A landslide at 14th Mile near Paglajhora, 35km from Siliguri, on June 16 has stalled the New Jalpaiguri-Kurseong services of the DHR for nearly six months now. At present, only the Kurseong-Darjeeling services and the joy rides between Ghum and Darjeeling are operational. The chartered rides have been confined to the undamaged stretches of the 80-km toy train route from Kurseong.
State PWD officials said the restoration would take another three months. “We have repaired almost 400ft of the 500-foot damaged stretch of NH55. However, since this is a fragile zone, strengthening work needs to be done. This will take three more months and the work will probably be completed by February,” said an official. (Just a lot of ‘hot air’, as usual ?!!)