Lease row: Darjeeling ropeway services suspended
Darjeeling: The Darjeeling Rangeet Valley Passenger Ropeway Services suspended operations from Sunday with the lease agreement between the Conveyor Ropeway Service Limited and West Bengal Forest Development Corporation (WBFDC) expiring. The ropeway services was a major tourist attraction of Darjeeling. It runs 12 gondolas along a 2.5 km long route between Singamari at 6500 ft and Vah Tukvar tea garden at an altitude of 6000ft.
"On April 1, we received a letter from the WBFDC asking us to suspend operations as the 20-year long lease agreement of the Conveyor Ropeway Service Private Limited had expired on March 31. Hence we stopped operations," stated the site in charge of the Conveyor and Ropeway Services Private Limited (CRSPL), Darjeeling. The CRSPL has written to WBFDC requesting renewal of the agreement at the earliest. "We have had some problems in the running of the ropeway earlier. Services were terminated earlier owing to an accident in 2012.
Time and again we had to suspend operations owing to political strife and bandhs as well. We hope that the lease agreement will be renewed soon so that this popular service can resume," added the site in charge. Recently, the ropeway services had shut down on June 12, 2017 following a band clamped on all Government offices both Central, State and GTA, followed by an indefinite bandh. Services had resumed on January 8, 2018. The fare of the 5km to and fro ride was doubled then. The fare was increased from Rs. 100 to Rs. 200 for adult passengers and from Rs. 75 to Rs. 100 for children. In June 2016, the ropeway was shut down with CRPSL failing to furnish a no objection certificate and fitness certificate from the PWD.