Those who know the history of the Bur ma railway which is infamous as death railway will know how horrifying and how great the sacrifice of everyone who perished and survived during the World War II. Now the town of Kanchanaburi wants the historical site to be recognized as a World Heritage Site. On May 5 of this year, a public hearing was conducted inside the River Kwai Hotel located in the western border of Thailand. The topic was discussed and the side of the local residents was heard during the hearing. JirakiatPoomsawat, the governor of Kanchanaburi, was the presiding officer during the event.
The National Committee on the Protection of Cultural World Heritage Sites presented a proposal to turn the railway line into one of the recognized UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A survey was conducted by the Cultural Office of the province as well as the RajabhatKanchanaburi University among the local residents and 52 per cent of them are in favour of the proposal.
A World Heritage Site is determined by UNESCO, short for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The landmark should have significance either in scientific, historical or cultural form. Aside from that, the area should also be legally under the protection of the governing international treaties.
The Fine Arts Department was also in favour of the proposal which was first introduced by the National Committee in February of 2014. According to the chief cultural official of Kanchanaburi, PisunChansilp, it aims to promote the Death Railway to UNESCO along with 10 other landmarks located all over Thailand.
Office of Archaeology’s director, TharapongSrisuchart, said that the next step for them is to apply for the World Heritage Site’s recognition. He also revealed that during his agency’s survey, they found train parts as well as structures along the route.
The Death Railway, also known as the Burma Railway, has a total length of 415 kilometres. It was constructed under the Japanese forces during the WWII. It was built by Asian civilians who were forced into labour together with the prisoners of war from various countries including Australia and United States.