Dismantling of heritage water tank in hills irks NMR fans

Ooty: The Nilgiris Mountain Railway (NMR) enthusiasts are irate over the dismantling of a heritage overhead water tank at the railway station yard here in Ooty and are calling for its re-installation as NMR is a Unesco world heritage site since 2005.

Stating that it was very painful to see the present Salem Railway Division administration, which has jurisdictional control over NMR, beginning to dismantle the overhead water tank at the railway station premises here, Mr K. Natarajan, president of the Heritage Steam Chariot Trust (HSCT), an organisation of NMR aficionados, claimed that the tank which has been serving water to steam locomotives is century-old monument maintained all these years even though steam locomotive service between Ooty and the Coonoor sector of NMR was scarped two decades ago.

He also said that after the NMR had been accorded world heritage site status in 2005, NMR aficionados had asked the railway administration not to disturb any existing structure in the NM

R to give real meaning to the heritage site, and officials had agreed to it.The heritage overhead tank, part and parcel of the steam locomotive mechanics is now being dismantled by the present day railway administrators, he rued.     Mr. Rajeshkumar James, secretary of the Citizens’ Forum of Coonoor, asked whether proper permission had been accorded to the railway administration to construct buildings by dismantling existing structures. “There seems to be something fishy in this issue. I will write to the CBI to enquire into this as I doubt the intentions of railway officials in giving preference to new constructions in the railway yard by dismantling heritage structures,” he added.

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