Darjeeling Himalayan Railways:
Concerns were raised against the Centre’s proposed monetisation of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways (DHR)
- There are four fully functional and operational railways networks in mountains and hilly terrains in India — the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) located in the foothills of the Himalayas in West Bengal; the Nilgiris Mountain Railways located in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu; the Kalka Shimla Railway located in the Himalayan foothills of Himachal Pradesh; and the Matheran Railway located in Maharashtra.
- DHR was built in the British era between 1879 and 1881; the Darjeeling toy train was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.
- The main reason for the protest is that private companies’ focus would be on profit, and local aspirations of the people would be ignored.
- Concerns have also been raised on how the government has taken this decision in an unilateral manner without consulting the stakeholders involved
- Government should consult the stakeholders involved and create guidelines to meet their aspirations in a mutually beneficial manner.
World Heritage Site:
- A World Heritage site is classified as a natural or man-made areaor a structure that is of international importance, and a space which requires special protection.
- These sites are officially recognised by the UN and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, also known as UNESCO.
- UNESCO believes that the sites classified as World Heritage are important for humanity, and they hold cultural and physical significance.