The state’s plans for a new look Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus aim to transform it into a world-class railway station, but some members of the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee say the plan is not in line with the character of the main building, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The plans include construction of shops and restaurants for commuters, a 100-ft-tall polygonal dome, and a space frame encompassing all the buildings.
“The grandeur and character of the heritage structure will be lost,” said Bipin Sankhe, chief architect, Public Works Department, who is also a member of the MHCC, adding: “The 100-foot tall space frame will not match the Gothic architecture of the building.”
“The idea is to visually connect all the buildings. The space frame will also act as an overhead walkway so people can walk and take escalators,” said a civic official requesting anonymity.
An attempt is also being made to decongest the heritage structure. Some buildings like the parcel and cargo offices, which house the Railway Protection Force and a few other structures, will be demolished.
To accommodate the increasing commuter population, the station’s concourse will be extended by 15-20 m by extending the tracks and platforms northwards. The project is being handled by consultants AREP Ville and Egis of France, who began their study of CST last year.
Dinesh Afzulpurkar, chairman, MHCC, said: “It is a very heritage-friendly proposal, but we will take a decision on the plan only in the next heritage committee meeting.”
According to the plans of the French firms, the aim is to “create more passenger amenities and build a self-sufficient eco-development model that is sensitised towards heritage, the urban fabric and the environment”.
The heritage building that houses the GM’s office may be converted into a heritage museum. “The ground floor offices will be removed so the area looks uncluttered,” the official said.