Diwali bonus: State gifts Rs 4.5-crore lights to CST
The impending facelift was in limbo for months, as Central Railway and the state government locked horns over who would shell out the money
Here’s some news that could make the lamps burn brighter this Diwali Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, perhaps the most iconic structure dominating the city’s skyline is set to be bathed in flattering lights soon.
The green signal for the much-awaited facelift comes in the wake of a protracted standoff between the state government and the Central Railway (CR) over funding for the Rs 4.5 crore lighting project. As per plans, the authorities have proposed to install multi-coloured LED lights on the UNESCO world heritage site, on the lines of other world-class architectural marvels like the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Earlier this year, MiD DAY had reported on the deadlock that kept the project in the pipeline for longer than planned (‘State, CR squabble over footing bill for CST facelift,’ May 27). But it appears that the parties involved have finally managed to iron out their differences: “The work will start in two months time, for which tenders have been called. It will take at least 7-8 months for the work to be completed,” said a Central Railway official.
For more than a year, the railways and Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) had locked horns over the funding for the special lighting project, neither wanting to shoulder the burden. Thanks to the prolonged impasse, Central Railway (CR) was forced to arrange for the building’s temporary illumination, fitting massive flashlights that are switched on at 7 pm every day. As per the new agreement, MTDC will fund all the expenses for work that will be executed by the railways. CR authorities have also called for tenders for the same from private contractors who specialise in this kind of work.
A tentative sum of around Rs 4.5 crore has been earmarked for the facelift. Over 300 LED lights of various hues will highlight the architectural splendour of the building, which stepped into its 125th year earlier this year.
The lights will come with special software, the settings of which can be changed to display patterns that suit different occasions – diyas during Diwali, a splash of colour for Holi, or the tricolour for Republic Day and Independence Day. Laser shows are also on the cards.
At present, colourful halogen lights are turned on to mark festive occasions like Diwali. CR officials have used the rationale that since the heritage structure will accrue profits in the state’s reserves, it is the state government MTDC, in this case that should bear the cost for the beautification project.
At present, Indian Railways is negotiating a grinding fund shortage, and have hiked ticket fares four times in the past few months. They claim that CR authorities would have had a hard time getting clearance for funds from the Rail Ministry.
300 Number of LEDs that will illuminate the structure
1888 Year the CST building was built