Prime Minister Narendra Modi has turned down Railway Minister Piyush Goyal's ambitious plan to convert Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus into one of the first museum-cum-railway stations in India, ministry sources said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has turned down Railway Minister Piyush Goyal’s ambitious plan to convert Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus into one of the first museum-cum-railway stations in India, ministry sources said.
The terminal was built over 10 years, starting in 1878. It was designed on the late medieval Italian models and it was elevated to the status of a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2004.
Goyal had announced to convert the busy terminal into a “world-class museum” during his visit there in November.
During a meeting attended by Goyal and senior Railway Board members on March 26, Prime Minister Modi questioned the logic behind such ambitious projects, the sources said.
They said the Railway Board was also against Goyal’s museum proposal, which could displace a lot of employees and it would be difficult to accommodate them somewhere else.
Railway zones, too, had objected to it.
The prime minister is understood to have remarked on the lack of railway artifacts that could be showcased in the proposed museum, which, the sources said, were not enough.
The bids for the Rs 250-million project was invited by Railway’s subsidiary RITES, which likely received response from top architectural conservation and building restoration firms.
At least 13 companies have submitted expressions of interest to design the two floors of the terminal into a museum complex, the sources say.
They indicated that the prime minister has also cast a shadow on Goyal’s ambitious electrification plan and his efforts to modernise the train signalling system by bringing in an European model – both of which are now likely put on hold.
Moreover, Goyal wanted the Railways to hire more safai karmacharis but has been asked to make do with the existing staff, the sources said.
All the PMO’s objections, they said, have now been published as minutes of the meeting and thus documented.
“During the meeting, the ministry was asked to concentrate on projects that are implementable. These projects had objections from the Board, zones and even in certain cases the Finance Ministry,” the sources said.