Consultants queue up for CST Makeover

The process of redeveloping the iconic Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) moved a step forward as the railway ministry accepted final bids from seven consultants to prepare a feasibility report for the public-private-partnership (PPP) project.The historic station, used by almost 8 lakh people everyday, is spread over 63 acres. With 20 acres of vacant land available on the eastern side along the P D’Mello Road, the railways want to come up with a modern station complex integrated with the original heritage structure of CST. There are plans to develop the surplus land at Carnac Bunder, with the possibility of exploiting the free airspace, to optimise revenue needed to redevelop CST.P K Agarwal, executive director at the railway ministry, confirmed that railways had received seven bids from consultants to study the technical and financial viability of redeveloping CST into a worldclass station.“We will finalise the consultant as soon as possible. The consultant would have 26 weeks to prepare the report,’’ said Agarwal. Sources said the ministry would choose the consultant based on the experience of team members, reputation of the firm and methodology suggested to prepare the report. The selected consultant would have to depute a chief architect who, in turn, would head the team of experts in station layout, construction, transport planning, local governance and environment.Railway officials said the report would have to answer several problems like queues at booking counters, no segregation of in-bound and outbound passengers in both suburban and outstation sections, lack of circulation space and waiting rooms, inadequate arrangement for waste disposal, hygiene and drainage.“The report would have to come up with a masterplan that can ensure smooth flow of trains, passengers, freight and parcel. The redeveloped station needs to accommodate simple concerns like parking and modern amenities,’’ said a Central Railway official.

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