Even as World Heritage Day was observed on April 18, the 145-year-old railway terminal of the erstwhile Darbhanga Raj is on the verge of losing its existence altogether.
Nargona Terminal, located inside the premises of LN Mithila University at Kameshwar Nagar in Darbhanga, has recently been ravaged and damaged severely by building construction machines and is being used as a sumping site for construction material.
This terminal was once used by the Darbhanga royal family, which had its own trains and saloons. It was located somewhere between the Nargona palace, said to be the first earthquake resistant palace in the country, and the Moti Mahal palace on the Raj premises while the railway track stretched between Samastipur and Nargona at Darbhanga Raj via Harahi station.
It was on April 17, 1874 that the Nargona terminal received its first train.
Exactly 145 years later, the monument has lost all evidence of those royal trains and saloons, which got damaged and destroyed decades ago for want of maintenance. Now, the railway track too has lost its existence.
The Nargona Terminal is the only surviving concrete evidence of the royal train and saloon of the Darbhanga Raj.
“April 17 was the 145th anniversary of Nargona Terminal. In other states, it would have become a part of protected heritage. Here, we are worried about its existence. In fact, had wen not reached the spot and intervened, we would have lost the entire structure. Some construction work has been going on at university campus these days and the terminal got ravaged by one of the machines,” Ashish Kumar, one among the royal family’s descendents, said.
Maintenance of the palace and other structures of the Raj is the responsibility of the LN Mithila University. In 1972, the erstwhile royal family donated these palaces and the campus to the state government to establish the university, Kumar said.
“No effort was ever made for preservation of royal trains and saloons. Rather, these were sold like domestic garbage. Even the railway track has lost existence,” he said.
According to Kumar, a couple of years ago, the then vice-chancellor had taken some initiatives. He put a plaque at the terminal and wanted to develop this area of university campus as a heritage zone.
“Recently, the LN Mithila University wrote to the East Central Railway Division, Samastipur, to support the university in preservation and development of Nargona terminal. The question is who planned modern construction near this heritage structure and how was the machine allowed to damage the 145-year-old railway terminal? Kumar asked.
R K Jain, who heads the East Central Railway Division, Samastipur, said development works at Nargona Terminal had been planned. “Work will start in the coming days,” he said.
LN Mithila University vice-chancellor S K Singh could not be contacted despite several attempts.
Apr 19, 2019 12:03 IST