Neral-Matheran misses world heritage site target

The plans of the Indian Railways to get UNESCO world heritage status for Matheran Light Railway (MLR) and thus all hill railways in India has crashed as it failed to make it to the list.

The Darjeeling Railway, the Kangra Valley Railway, Nilgiri Mountain Railway are already on the list.

MLR was built between 1901 and 1907 by Abdul Hussein Adamjee Peerbhoy, at a cost of Rs 16 lakh. It is about 19.97 kms long and the tracks are 0.61 metres wide. The track runs from Neral to Matheran, in Raigad's Sahaydri mountain range. "We are yet to know the reason behind the non-inclusion of the MLR, as the delegation is yet to return," said an officer from the railway board. The official, however, added that the recent controversy created by the Peerbhoys must have led to the non-inclusion of the site in the list.

The Peerbhoys have been demanding that Matheran station be renamed after Sir Abdul Adamjee Peerbhoy. "Although this year Neral-Matheran rail could not be considered for inscription as a world heritage site by the UNESCO, the railways will make a fresh attempt next year," said Shriniwas Mudgerikar, chief spokesperson, Central Railway.

Meanwhile, Jantar Mantar, an astronomical observation site in Rajasthan, has got on to the world heritage list.

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