Dip in tourists inflow: DHR downsizes joy rides

Darjeeling: The tourism industry has been hit hard due to COVID-19 pandemic.

With the number of tourists having decreased drastically, the world heritage Darjeeling Himalayan Railways (DHR), a major tourist attraction of Darjeeling, has downsized joyride services.

"During the tourist season, we were operating 8 joyride services, including 4 steam and 4 diesel. Now, with hardly any tourists around we are operating 3 joyride services to Ghoom including 1 steam and two diesel. As the number of tourist increases, the number of joyride services will also increase," stated Suman Pradhan, station manager, DHR.

The 16-km joyride starts from Darjeeling Railway station to Ghoom and back with stoppages at the famous Batasia Loop and Ghoom Railway museum. At present the joy rides cost Rs 1600 per passenger for vista dome coach; Rs 1500 for steam service and Rs 1000 for diesel service. The DHR is a major attraction specially among the foreign tourists.

The DHR service between NJP and Darjeeling that had been discontinued owing to landslides, resumed from Friday. It had been discontinued since October 20, 2021 owing to a landslide between Mahanadi and Tindharia.Every year 8 lakh domestic and 40,000 foreign tourists visit the Darjeeling Hills. On Monday the Darjeeling district recorded 260 fresh Covid-19 cases including Darjeeling town having 17 new cases.

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