Darjeeling (WB): Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) will rebuild the over 100-yr old Victoria Falls bridge and deck up its surroundings.
GTA Tourism Executive Director Sonam Bhutia said a steel bridge will come up alongside the existing one that connects several remote villages of Darjeeling sub-division as part of the beautification which will also augment the infrastructure facilities.
The 110-feet long Victoria Falls Bridge was built by the British way back in 1912 but outlived its age having weathered vagaries of time and nature.
"The existing bridge is very old with risk of accidents high as heavy vehicles pass through it regularly. If a steel bridge comes up parallel to the old one we need not worry about accidents taking place," Bhutia said.
He added that vehicles will be permitted to use the new bridge only when it is fully completed. Meanwhile, the old bridge will be strictly meant for pedestrians after conducting necessary repair and renovation.
GTA Chief Executive Bimal Gurung had inspected the Victoria Falls area along with Executive Engineers of the council and Darjeeling Municipality officials.
Set right in front of a natural waterfall, the Victoria Falls bridge was a popular tourist destination till the mid- 80s with the neighbourhood also bearing the name.
Pony-mounted tourists would come to the area from Mall Chowrastha to take pictures of the beautiful waterfall and the breathtaking Kanchenjunga range in the backdrop.
But the waterfall has dried up over the years and the spot reduced to a garbage dump site. Concrete buildings have mushroomed in the area blocking the view of the mountain range, prompting travel agents to drop Victoria Falls from their tour itinerary.
The GTA is hopeful of restoring the lost glory of the place after the construction of new bridge and beautification.
At the outset, the GTA will conduct a survey of the area following which a detailed project report will be prepared, Bhutia said. It will then float public tenders for construction.
General Secretary of Victoria Falls Protection Society Birman Singh welcomed the GTA's decision to beautify the area and build a new bridge.