Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, (Screen grab courtesy: Hindustan Times)
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UNESCO has asked the Indian Railways to submit a report by next February on the state of conservation of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways (DHR) after the UN body found the trains and tracks of the world heritage site were suffering from “insufficient maintenance,” reported The Hindu.

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in its 43rd session held in Baku, Republic of Azerbaijan, on June 30, submitted a report. it says “many of the station buildings which are identified as major attributes of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) have “lost original fabric and seriously deteriorated” since the inscription of the property on the World Heritage list in 1999 and its subsequent extensions in 2004 and 2008”

The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, also known as the DHR or the Toy Train, is gauge railway that runs between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling in the Indian state of West Bengal. Built between 1879 and 1881, it is about 88 km long. On 2 December 1999, UNESCO declared the DHR a World Heritage Site.[1] Two more railway lines were later added, and the site became known as one of the mountain railways of India.

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee is responsible for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, defines the use of the World Heritage Fund and allocates financial assistance upon requests from States Parties. It has the final say on whether a property is inscribed on the World Heritage List. It examines reports on the state of conservation of inscribed properties and asks States Parties to take action when properties are not being properly managed. It also decides on the inscription or deletion of properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

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