The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) has incurred an estimated loss of Rs. 2.5 crore due to the ongoing Gorkhaland agitation in West Bengal, an official said on Monday.
“If the situation would have been normal, that is the amount we would have earned in this time by running our trains. Services have been suspended since June 12,” Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) Chief Public Relations Officer Pranav Jyoti Sharma told IANS.
Till June 12 this year, the DHR registered earnings of Rs. 3.05 crore.
The heritage train operates under NFR. The UNESCO granted world heritage status to the DHR on December 2, 1999.
Following the agitation, the Sonada and Gayabari stations of DHR were damaged besides the DHR headquarter Elysia building at Kurseong. The Gayabari station was gutted in a fire.
“We used to run nine trains daily from Darjeeling to Ghoom. There used to be a train from Siliguri to Darjeeling and one from Darjeeling to Siliguri. All the trains have stopped. We have to sit back till the situation normalises,” Mr Sharma said.
All advance bookings from July 12 for DHR toy trains were cancelled and money refunded. The annual expenditure of the DHR is estimated at Rs. 15 crore.
The hill passenger railway started operations in 1881.
Local parties have been protesting in the West Bengal hills demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland.