The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, a Unesco World Heritage Site, is set to get a makeover with world-class facilities at a cost of Rs.1,642 crore. But the makeover comes at a price for Mumbaikars: in future access to the station will be controlled and users will have to pay a fee – to be decided later by the Railway Board – to enter the premises.
That was among the main takeaways from ISRDC Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Sanjeev Kumar Lohia’s interaction with reporters. Lohia said the Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation had on August 20 invited Request for Qualification for the redevelopment of the station – expected to be completed in four years – through the public-private partnership model.
Under the plan, the Harbour Line, which connects South Mumbai with western suburbs and Navi Mumbai, will be shifted to the P D’Mello Road side, east of the main line station, on an elevated level. The authorities will demolish some existing buildings in the CSMT premises and move certain railway offices to Byculla and Wadi Bunder, to create more pedestrian area on the southern end of the station. Even the existing taxi stand will be shifted close to the boundary wall adjoining the Saint George Hospital, officials said.
Up to 2.54 lakh square metres of built-up area – including 80,000 sqm at Byculla and 30,000 sqm at Wadi Bunder – will be set aside for commercial development.
“The selected bidder at the RFP stage shall take up redevelopment of the railway station and commercial development of the surrounding railway land on leasehold basis, up to 60 years for commercial development and up to 99 years for residential development on selected plots, along with operation and maintenance of the station for 60 years on concession basis,” an IRSDC release said.
Restoring the heritage elements – including the façade – of the building is also a key aim. “This is the only station in the country that is also a Unesco site. We will restore its heritage. We will also take down all developments that have taken place after 1950. The observations made by earlier consultants in 2009, which had been presented before the heritage committee, have also been taken into account in the new plans. We have shown them how the station will be redeveloped so that the beauty of the station is enhanced,” Lohia said.
“The redevelopment will not be limited to improving the façade. Since it is a heritage structure, the first important element is to restore its heritage. We will restore the heritage to the 1950 level.”