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Rlys wants CST heritage criteria diluted for project

It's Unique Anglo-Indian architecture might have earned Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus a UNESCO World Heritage Site tag,but six years on,the Railways wants some of the criteria laid down for preserving the heritage value of the structure diluted.

Written by Shalini Nair | Mumbai |
December 31, 2010 11:18:30 pm

It’s Unique Anglo-Indian architecture might have earned Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus a UNESCO World Heritage Site tag,but six years on,the Railways wants some of the criteria laid down for preserving the heritage value of the structure diluted.

According to Central Railway officials,some of the commitments made in documents submitted to the World Heritage Committee could come in the way of the modernisation project,which is supposed to be undertaken through private participation. As part of the plan,9.6 hectares of railway land on the eastern PD’Mello side of the station will have to be handed over to the developer for building shopping complexes,budget hotels and offices for the work done on the station.

The project has also been placed before the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee for approval. While the committee will take a decision only after a site visit next week,the proposal to commercially exploit land near the Grade One listed CST building and the Fort heritage precinct has already raised hackles of several panel members. “The Railways should not even ask for dilution of guidelines at the embarrassing risk of losing the World Heritage Site tag. This is not some mofussil station,it is the most important railway station in the country. The railways can easily make budgetary provision for the project instead of selling prime land to a developer. This land which can be used for its own operational purposes later on,” said one of them.

The plan to restore and modernise the CST station,used by over three million commuters daily,was drawn up just after it got the UNESCO tag in July 2004. Besides commercial use of vacant land,the other three components of the project are increasing the number of platforms and passenger amenities,restoring the structure and adding new design elements and removing some of the additions made in 1980 that are incongruous with the rest of the structure. The entire 100-m periphery of buffer zone 1 would be made into a pedestrian zone after clearing the taxi stand and shifting some of the amenities to the basement.

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