THE CENTRAL RAILWAY (CR) will rope in skilled labourers from across the country to undertake preservation work of the world heritage building of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSTM).
The labourers, who have earlier worked for the preservation of other historic monuments and structures in the country, will work on conservation techniques for the building, officials said.
Last month, the CR had asked heritage conservation expert, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), to study corrective works required for the building in order to enhance its ‘heritage’ appearance. While INTACH submitted its report earlier this month, the work would only commence after July.
“Due to ageing and pollution, the building has started losing its sheen. Certain irregularities, including broken window glasses and structures around the building, were not adding to the look of the structure. The report by INTACH thus guides us on what corrective measures we can include,” a senior CR official said.
According to the CR, tenders will be floated to invite contractors for conducting preservation work of the building. Vertical cleaning of the building with sand and replacement of glasses in the window panes with coloured ones will be some of the works.
“The work will include inculcating more ‘heritage feel’ to the building. The coloured glasses will lend an archaic feel to the structure. Removal of a lot of side-structures and encroachments around the building is also on the cards,” the official added.
Officials said that while the work will not take much time, hunting for the required material for the corrective measures will. “For example, we will be making use of the finest quality teak wood to re-build certain broken wooden structures. Repairs are also suggested to be carried out on certain statues made on the building that include the gargoyles. On the eastern side of the building (opposite to the entrance to platform number 10 of the station), we will build a huge wall in stones to cover up certain existing constructions,” the official added.
The report states that an estimated Rs 4.05 crores would be needed to carry out the conservation work. The State Bank of India will officially fund the project for the railways.
“We will finalise the entire list of works to be done by July-end. We are also looking at other funding agencies to fund the project for us,” Vishal Agarwal, Additional General Manager, CR, said.
Heritage conservationist Vikas Dilawari, who also contributed to making the report, said: “We will officially consult the railways on how the work should be done. The major works listed will take at least nine months to be completed after the contract has been awarded. We will also be listing out the dos and don’ts to the railways to preserve the work carried.”
Improving the facades of the building and enhancing the look for visitors and commuters would remain the aim, officials said.
Old cutlery used by the railway officials from the Great Indian Peninsular Railway (GIPR) – predecessor of the CR, lamps used by the then guards to light up tracks at nights and old number plates of trains could adorn the renewed heritage gallery of the CSTM building. Old photos of the building and other memoirs related to the suburban railway structure could be part of the gallery.
The heritage gallery, at present, includes replicas of the original drawings of F W Stevens, the chief architect of the CST building, as well as photographs and documents from the archives about the growth of the railways and the city. Expansion of the gallery will take one more year.
“We will also make an effort to search the old bulbs used in steam engines then which could become a part of the gallery. Remembrances of earlier trains which ran on Direct Current (DC) in Mumbai, old tickets and printing machines used then will also be included,” a CR official added.
In an official notification announced on Wednesday, the CR has called for an official change of the name of the existing Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus. Post the notification, officials said, the corrections will be made in the alphabetical list of railway stations in the country.