Mumbai: Piyush Goyal's pet CSMT building project gets token Rs 1,000
Railways' budget pink book earmarks Rs 550 crore for Mumbai upgrade projects, Rs 28 crore less than last year.
Through a token allocation of Rs 1,000 the railways' budget pink book has managed to keep alive Railway Minister Piyush Goyal's pet project of converting the UNESCO-listed Mumbai CSMT building into a world-class museum. This is the first time that the R25-crore project has got some allocation since it was announced two years back. Apart from this, R550 crore has been earmarked for Mumbai upgrade projects, R28 crore less than last year.
Funds have also been allocated for the bullet train, a new terminus at Jogeshwari station and for increasing the speed of the existing Mumbai-Ahmedabad trains.
Not just conservationists, even heritage enthusiasts, railway employees and their trade unions and the descendents of the building's architect, F W Stevens, had opposed the CSMT building conversion project. Later, the ministry had said they would reconsider the project.
In 2017, Goyal had directed officials to convert the building into a museum and the railways had even begun the process of vacating the offices and issuing advertisements for alternative office spaces for CR GM and his team. The railway unions have been opposing the idea tooth and nail, as they want the premises to be conserved, and 21 days after sitting on a dharna at the CSMT lobby, the CR Mazdoor Sangh had also planned a hunger-to-death strike at the station premises.
Requesting anonymity, a CRMS officer said, "We will not let it happen even if they try to revive it in anyway." Meanwhile, speaking about the Mumbai Urban Transport Projects 2, 3 and 3A, Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation Managing Director R S Khurana said, "There is no shortfall of money and the pace of the projects has increased."
Other major allocations include R5,000 crore for the bullet train and funds for increasing the speed of trains on the Mumbai-Ahemadabd route and also achieving a travel time of 12 hours between Delhi-Mumbai. Funds have also been allocated for developing a second terminal at Jogeshwari station and extending suburban platforms to run 15-car trains on the slow Andheri-Virar corridor. A certain portion has been earmarked for reconstruction of bridges and footbridges on both the Central and Western Railway sections.
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