The ongoing strike by coal workers, which prompted the railway authorities to pull the plug on the steam engine-run joyrides of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways (DHR), is likely to hit the tourism sector of the area, said the Himalayan Hospitality and Tourism Development Network (HHTDN) on Friday.
Samrat Sanyal, General Secretary, HHTDN, stated that the ongoing problem could create "a negative impact" on international tourists, who prefer the steam-powered toy train as compared to the diesel engine-pulled train".
"The steam engines are a major draw for tourism in Darjeeling, especially among the international tourists," he said.
Suman Raaj, the Additional Divisional Railway Manager, Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), said: "They had been using two steam engines for the joyrides, which is immensely popular among tourists. A single engine consumes around a ton of coal for each ride."
He further stated that since the deadlock, the DHR has opted for diesel-run locomotives.
The DHR ceased the steam engine services on November 11 after the labours alleged salary issues with DHR contractors.
This happened at a time when the NFR was celebrating 20 years of heritage status given to the DHR by UNESCO.
Currently, there are six diesel engines, which run between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)