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No funds released since February: Central Railway writes to SBI Foundation, seeks release of money for CSMT restoration

The Indian Express logo The Indian Express 6 days ago Iram Siddique
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Restoration of the 130-year-old Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), a UNESCO-recognised world heritage structure, has hit a roadblock due to paucity of funds, Central Railway (CR) officials said.

A total budget of Rs 51 crore was allocated for the restoration of the station facade after it was selected among the 10 buildings to be restored under the government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2017. The State Bank of India (SBI) Foundation reportedly had committed Rs 10 crore towards the work and signed an MoU with the CR that year.

Till February, officials from CR claimed, the SBI has released a little over Rs 3 crore in two installments — the first tranche of Rs 2.2 crore was paid on October 16, 2018, while the second installment of Rs 1 crore was released on February 21 this year. The bank, CR officials said, is yet to release any further money.

CR officials have recently also written to the managing director of SBI Foundation urging them to release the remaining sum. “We have written to SBI Foundation to release the funds for the remaining work to be completed,” chief public relations officer of CR, Shivaj Sutar, said.

According to officials, on the basis of the MoU, two separate tenders of Rs 3.74 crore and Rs 4.9 crore were floated for the restoration of the main building. “Contractors have completed Rs 6-crore worth work before it was stopped before monsoons. But now with no money to make a further payment, neither the ongoing works have started nor tenders for the remaining have been floated,” a CR official said.

According to officials, after the MoU was signed, the CR was asked by SBI to submit a detailed project report based on which the entire Rs 10 crore was to be released. “But till now only Rs 3 crore have been released,” a senior official from CR said.

When approached, managing director of SBI, MK Rekhi said, “We are not in a position to reply as it is a CSR commitment. I’m not competent enough as far as the protocol goes. It ...was done by the Board of SBI Foundation.”

Rail Board chairman vets CSMT station

* Chairman of Railway Board Vinod Kumar Yadav inspected CSMT station Saturday and asked Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC) to submit a final proposal to make CSMT station a world-class station.

* IRSDC has envisioned to equip the CSMT terminus with an elevated waiting area on the lines of the waiting lobbies at airports. They also want to segregate movement of long-distance passenger from suburban commuters.

* “We plan to operate 250 passenger trains between Mumbai-Delhi and Delhi-Kolkata,” Yadav said.

n The IRSDC and CR has constituted a team order to finalise the redevelop-ment plan of CSMT. The team will begin discussions December 2. Railways have also planned to develop CSMT railway yard.

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