OF THE hurried mass of humanity that enters CST from the Dadabhai Naoroji road subway everyday, many have been tilting their heads skywards after an easy breeze wipes away some of their day’s strain for the past four months. Much to their amazement, they see a giant fan —16 feet in diameter — turning away to glory, covering a sizeable area under it.
While the commuters are happy, and mildly amused, the railway too is glad, given that the fan needs lesser electricity and covers a larger area as compared to the traditional air-circulators. More importantly for some, it has become a landmark to explain one’s location across the 18 platforms of CST.
According to a railway official, the first High Volume Low Speed (HVLS) fan costing Rs 3.5 lakh was installed at the suburban concourse between platform 2 and 3. The idea was that the air volume of these fans are better than the air-circulators spread across the platforms.
“The air circulation of these fans is more compared to the 25 air-circulators at CST. If you stand in front of an air-circulator, your hair will be all over the place. With this, the air speed is more comfortable,” said an official.
Thanks to the “uniform air displacement”, the area around the fan turns into an island of stationary people in the sea of rushed commuters hurtling towards the next train. What further makes this a coveted spot to wait for someone is, the minuscule seating arrangement that CST has is in the periphery of the area this fan covers. “Come anytime of the day and you will see people waiting here. At times, there are entire families who just sit on the floor if the seats are taken,” said a GRP official at CST.
Juzer Amreliwala, who works in the Fort area, said he waits for his colleagues below the fan as it is easier to locate. “The platform structure of CST is different from other stations, hence it is difficult to explain where one is waiting. Now, with this fan, I tell the others in the group that I’d be waiting below the big fan and they understand my location,” he added.
However, going by the railway’s plan, the “big fan” may not remain a landmark. A senior official said they were hoping to add at least four more fans at CST in the coming months. “Nearly 15 days ago, we added another big fan at the other exit from CST, leading towards the General Post Office, which is comparatively less crowded,” said the official.
Asked what the commuter response has been, the official said, “Just look at the crowd and you will get your answer. Earlier, there would hardly be three-four people in front of an air-circulator, trying to elbow out others. Now, crowds stand peacefully below these big fans .”