The Darjeeling Rangeet Valley (DRV) passenger ropeway service at Singamari, one of the major tourist attractions of Darjeeling that was hit by the recent statehood agitation, has resumed operation after six months. The ropeway service was shut on June 12, 2017, after Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s call for closure of government offices for the separate state demand in June, which was followed by 105 days of strike.
On Saturday, tourists lined up for rides. “I request other tourists visiting the Hills to come and enjoy the ropeway services. At present, we have around 130-150 tourists daily. I am sure the number will increase when more tourists are informed,” said Zakir Hussain, in charge of the ropeway services.
Though the Hills strike was withdrawn in September, the ropeway services could not resume as the mandatory annual no objection certificate (NOC) could not be renewed in August.
“We could not start operations earlier as we did not have the NOC. Now that we have got it, we have started the services as a lot of people depend on the ropeway services,” said Rachana Mukherjee, director of Conveyor and Ropeway Service Private Limited (CRSPL), which operates the services.
However, CRSPL has increased the ride fare for the 5km to-and-fro journey from Singamari to Vah-Tukvar. For adults, the fare has been hiked to Rs 200 from Rs 100 and for children between the ages of three and seven the fare has been revised to Rs 100 from the earlier Rs 75.
But neither the price hike nor the chilly weather has deterred tourists. “We came to know about the resumption of the ropeway service from our hotel. We immediately decided to go on the ride. It is really cold, but we enjoyed it. The price is not a big factor for such a wonderful experience,” said Binod Soni from Delhi.