Darjeeling: Drone to view landslide possibility near toy train tracks

By Tarak Sarkar Darjeeling (West Bengal) [India], Aug 18 (ANI): As the regular Darjeeling Himalayan Service (DHR) between New Jalpaiguri Station ( NJP) and Darjeeling has come to a halt due to multiple landslides, the Northeast Frontier Railway ( NFR) will use Unmanned Aerial Vehicle ( UAV) to check landslides threats. The service was earlier suspended from August 2 to August 5 and was further extended to August 10 after falling boulders and landslips damaged railway tracks at Paglajhora in the Kurseong sub-division on August 1. The Railway officials said the regular service could be resumed before the beginning of the festive season in October. "We are unable to see the situation in the upside of the Hills whether threats of further landslides remain. We could not carry out the repairing over the threats as it could endanger the lives of the people would be engaged in the repairing works. As soon as the landslides stop, the track restoration would begin but to start this we need to analyse the situation of the hills which is currently impossible from the ground. That is why the drones would be used," said divisional railway manager, Katihar division, NFR, Chandra Prakash Gupta, who had reviewed the DHR tracks affected with boulders falling on the stretches at Thindharia, Paglajhora and some areas near Kurseong yesterday. "The drones would be able to read the situation and record the situation through its cameras. After reviewing the footage which we can take the decision," Gupta added. Around 80 meters of railway tracks at Paglajhora were damaged and the portion of the tracks was filled with boulders and debris. The tracks are parallel to National Highway ( NH)-55. The NH IX division of PWD is working on clearing boulders and debris by using earth movers. It may be recalled that a major landslide (in June 2010) at Paglajhora on NH-55 had halted the toy train service. Although the trains used to run from NJP to Gayabari, another landslide in September 2011 had shortened the ride. However, the trains have been running between Kurseong and Darjeeling had remained uninterrupted. The DHR later resumed the train service between Siliguri and Gayabari. The full-fledged service between NJP and Darjeeling was finally resumed on 12 June in 2015. "Some small slides occurred at some places but the slides at Paglajhora are major. Every year the landslips occur here. We felt under such circumstances during the monsoon, the running of the toy train is not safe for the safety of passengers. At this moment it is tough to say about the date of the resumption of the service but we are hopeful that the regular toy train service would be resumed before the start of the festive season in October, " Gupta added.(ANI)
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