Western Railways, in collaboration with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), is working on a plan to renovate Mumbai’s Bandra station, as a heritage landmark.
In April this year, UNESCO had accepted the offer to work as a consultant for heritage conservation at the charming 146-year-old station. They will restore the damaged or missing structures on the building and will also be involved in designing the surrounding areas. The station has been identified as a National Rail Heritage site by Western Railway as well as Grade I heritage building by the Maharashtra government.
This heritage conservation work aims to restore the image of Bandra as the “queen of suburbs”.
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For this, a concrete plan has been made to transform the station with the view of providing efficient transportation facilities, and also to reinforce the magnificence of the building that is known for its sloping Mangalore-tiled roof, and a spacious layout.
UNESCO has submitted the initial report for redevelopment to Railway Minister, Suresh Prabhu. The report focuses on urban design strategy. According to a report in The Times of India, the recommendations include steps for relieving congestion and streamlining movement at entry and exit of the station.
The overall report proposes to develop the station into a culturally relevant community asset. They plan to create an attractive and comfortable environment, while focussing on giving priority to pedestrians and to make the station universally accessible. A number of steps for improving accessibility for people with disabilities will also be taken. UNESCO’s final report with conservation and management plan of the station building, is expected next month.
This redesign will boost the preservation of the rich heritage of Mumbai. Indian Railways is also the overseer of four world heritage sites – Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminal, Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Nilgiri Mountain Railway and Kalka Shimla Railway.
In 2009, Western Railways had the undertaken restoration work of the Bandra station building, and appointed conservation architect Abha Narian Lambah as a consultant for the same. However, heritage conservation plan was not carried out after the repairs.