Mid-day impact: Central Railways fixes CSMT pillar damaged during protests

Mar 09, 2018, 09:20 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar

mid-day impact: The repair was carried out using local funds, top official says, adding that probe is on to fix responsibility

The pillar was found broken after union workers staged a protest against plans to convert the terminus into a museum;
The pillar was found broken after union workers staged a protest against plans to convert the terminus into a museum;

Two weeks after the tug of war between railway workers and authorities tore apart a pillar in the heritage Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), the damage has been undone. In order to ensure that the repair to the 130-year-old building looks seamless, the Central Railway called artisans from Jaipur to reattach the broken part of the pillar.

The Central Railway (CR) authorities are now conducting an investigation to determine who is responsible for what can be termed as the first major damage to the UNESCO-listed heritage building in years. This paper had earlier highlighted how a pillar was found broken at the south facade of CSMT, where the railwaymen’s union had staged a protest against plans to convert the terminus into a museum. Pictures showed that the union had hung banners and installed loudspeakers on the pillars of the 130-year-old building. Following the protest, officials blamed the protestors, but the union members said it was a conspiracy to show them in bad light.

 CR brought the same artisans from Jaipur who had completed the restoration of the building a few years ago
CR brought the same artisans from Jaipur who had completed the restoration of the building a few years ago

Quick fix
Soon after mid-day’s report on the matter, CR brought artisans from Jaipur to rectify the damage. These were the same craftsmen who had completed the restoration of the structure some years ago, so officials were reassured that they would do a good job. Fortunately, CR had also saved the broken fragment of the pillar, so all the artisans had to do was to reattach it as seamlessly as possible. This ensured that the cost of repairs was not too high — Rs 10,000. SK Jain, divisional railway manager, who is the custodian of the building, said, "Thanks to mid-day for bringing the damage to our notice. It has been fixed and we have launched an inquiry into how it happened. A senior-level official is conducting the probe. The repairs were done using internal funds. We will take care that such things are not repeated."

The cost of the repair was not too high because the authorities had saved the broken fragment of the pillar
The cost of the repair was not too high because the authorities had saved the broken fragment of the pillar

Museum plan still on
Designed by Fredrick William Stevens and completed in 1888, CSMT is one of 36 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. The railways recently took up a comprehensive restoration of the building in preparations to convert the first two floors into a world-class transport museum. Employees on these two floors will be moved to an office nearby, while the general manager and his team will continue to operate out of the second floor. The Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES), an engineering consultancy company affiliated to the railways, has invited expression of interest (EOI) for comprehensive architectural services to create the museum.

130
Age of the building (in years)

Rs 10k
Cost of the repair

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