Mumbai: Central Railway to convert CST into a Rs 1,800-cr fortress

Feb 19, 2016, 14:40 IST | Shashank Rao

After proposing a massive statue of Shivaji Maharaj, Central Railway will be building seven of his forts on the P D’Mello Road end, next to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus' platform 18

In 1996, the Victoria Terminus was rechristened as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST). Twenty years after the renaming, Central Railway (CR) has proposed to build a statue of Shivaji Maharaj at CST. It is also likely to construct replicas of seven forts belonging to the famed Maratha warrior at the UNESCO World Heritage site.

The terminus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The terminus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Sources in CR said that the JJ School of Arts gave a presentation on this proposed façade where the replicas of seven forts are likely to come. “They had shown us a small replica of these forts. The statues and the forts will most probably be built between platform 18 of CST and P D'Mello road,” said a senior CR official. mid-day was the first to report about the proposed Shivaji statue on the P D'Mello side of CST station in the October 20, 2015 report, 'How many Shivaji statutes can CST hold'.

Graphic /Uday mohite

The façade will be similar to the shapes of forts, namely Raigad, Panhala, Sinhgad, Shivneri, Rajgad, Bhulkot and Janjira. The officials claimed that they would be utilising the space next to platform 18 of CST, which is parallel to P D'Mello road. These forts will have light and sound shows, showcasing the life of Shivaji Maharaj. All of these will be developed on a 100x600 yard area.

As per the proposal, the Shivneri fort will be built at the centre and will be taller than the rest of the forts. There will be exhibition centre inside, with 7D shows showcasing different facets of Mumbai in an auditorium that can seat 3,000 people. It will also have a resting room for passengers.

Sources said that since these forts would be built at a UNESCO World Heritage site, there would be restrictions on its height. However, they are looking at a height of up to 30 metres for the forts. Some of the forts will be used for commercial purposes and space for hoardings will be provided on them.

The Shivaji statue
Six forts would be ground plus three storeys high and some portion in the basement would be used as well. At present, there is an entrance from P D'Mello road that will stay. It faces an open garden, where the Shivaji statue is likely to come up. The entry/exit points are likely to be from the north end of CST station. At night, these forts will be lit with LEDs and other colourful lights.

Amidst this development, there will also be an exit for the CST-Panvel fast corridor line, which would be elevated from Dockyard Road and come all the way till P D'mello road, where it would terminate. CST's multi-crore revamp has been stuck for a long time.

Height restrictions
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) conferred CST, a Grade 1 heritage structure, with the World Heritage Site tag in 2004. However, there is a rider, which says that the demarcation of buffer zones, meant for restricted development, can be carried out in the area surrounding the structure and its height cannot supersede the heritage building. Any structure coming up in the station’s vicinity must have a height cap of 24 metres, so that the view of the main CST building remains unobstructed.

CST facts
>> The station was completed in May 1888 at the cost of Rs 16,35,562
>> It was built as an office and terminus for the Grand Indian Peninsula Railway (now CR)
>> Over 50 long-distance trains travel through the terminus every day
>> About 42 lakh people commute on the 1,618 suburban trains along its central and harbour lines
>> It has 18 platforms, of which 11 are used by long distance travellers and seven are used by suburban commuters.

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