Central Railway authorities have started a crackdown on hawkers and beggars outside Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) after finally tracing missing tubes and wires connecting the air-conditioners inside the heritage museum to a couple of beggars outside the station.
CR sources said, till November, there have been five instances where beggars and drug addicts at the station stole copper wires from the air conditioners. The heritage museum is situated on the ground floor of CR’s headquarters, which has been graded a World Heritage structure by UNESCO.
“We have caught a couple of beggars who we suspect have been stealing the wires. We have also asked the railway police to tighten security around the building and continue their drive to remove hawkers and beggars from the vicinity of the station,” a senior CR official said on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Quite often, commuters frequenting CST complain that hawkers and beggars outside the station are an obstruction to those entering or exiting as they occupy most of the space there.
Interestingly, the heritage museum has not yet been opened to the public, even though it was inaugurated in January. “Certain administrative issues are holding up the opening of the museum. If it is opened to the public right now, it could become a security hazard for the heritage building where entry is restricted,” said another official on condition of anonymity.
Sources said the museum that exhibits the history of the Central Railway hasn’t yet got the requisite sanction from CR’s general manager, Kul Bhushan. At the moment the museum is open to students and other groups only after seeking special permission, sources said.