Unable to convince the UNESCO of its renovation plans for the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), railway officials are now considering Parel and LTT railway stations to be converted into world-class railway stations.
The reason for the shift to the other two stations is owing to the heritage tag attached to the 125-year-old CST. Authorities say that their multi-crore facelift for the structure can’t be passed owing to the stringent heritage rules of UNESCO, which state that no brick or stone can be moved from a heritage structure without prior consent.
In September this year, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the advisory body to UNESCO World Heritage Committee, rejected the Railways’ proposal for rationalisation of boundaries.
Hence, authorities started to look at Parel and Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) stations. Initially, LTT had received the nod to be made into a world-class station. However, internally, the Central Railway (CR) officials began debating if Parel station should also be converted into a world-class station. “Earlier, it had been proposed to develop Parel as a suburban terminus for which all necessary work will start soon. Now, we have realised there is a scope of converting it into a world-class station owing to the possibilities of more space,” said a CR official.
Presently, there is a huge railway workshop and a few residential colonies housing railway employees near the station. Officials in favour of converting Parel into a world-class station want these to be relocated so that more land could be acquired to build an even larger station.
“Parel offers good east-west connectivity as it is close to Dr Ambedkar Road on the east and NM Joshi Marg on the west, which will allow easy distribution of commuters. This would, in turn, reduce the number of passengers at Dadar station as well,” said another CR official.
As per the current proposal, the Parel terminus will be constructed at a cost of around Rs 800 crore, wherein additional two lines will be laid between CST-Kurla, a terminus building and elevated booking deck will be built. They claim to add nearly 100 more services and the terminus is to be ready by 2015.
Meanwhile, other officials argue that Kurla LTT would be perfect for the development of a world-class station as it would solve the connectivity problem as soon as the the Santacruz Chembur Link Road (SCLR) is ready for use. “Once SCLR is ready then Kurla terminus will be easily accessible to people residing in both the eastern and western suburbs. Also it will allow us to add more trains and platforms, which is expected out of a world-class station,” said a senior CR official.
CR officials also plan to develop 20 acres of land at LTT for commercial exploitation to generate funds. The plan includes constructing a multi-level car parking, hotels, commercial establishments and escalators.
They will also construct an elevated deck at LTT and a skywalk to connect Kurla station from LTT.
Rs 800 cr
The cost of constructing the Parel Terminus, which is to be ready by 2015