Mumbai: The BJP-led Maharashtra government has proposed that Mumbai’s iconic railway terminus as well as the airport, already named after warrior king Shivaji, to have Maharaj added in them, and be known as ‘Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus’ and ‘Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport’.
A Cabinet decision in this regard was taken on Thursday. “It will now need approval of the state legislature. Following this, it will be forwarded to the Railways and Civil Aviation ministries at the Centre for the final decision,” an official in the Chief Minister’s office told.
At present, Mumbai Airport is known as ‘Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport’ and the railway terminus in South Mumbai as ‘Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus’. The sprawling railway terminus, a marvellous structure and UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also the headquarters of the Central Railways.
The station was built in 1887 in Bori Bunder area of Bombay (now Mumbai) to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. It is one of the busiest stations in India serving as a terminus for both long-distance as well as commuter services trains of the Mumbai Suburban Railway.
Known for over a century as Victoria Terminus, the facility was renamed after Shivaji by the Union government in 1996, months after Bombay was renamed as Mumbai. The Sahar airport in the Western suburbs was renamed as Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in 1999. Later, domestic airport at Vile Parle also came to be known as Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.
According to observers, one of the reasons that prompted the government to insert ‘Maharaj’ could be the upcoming civic polls in Mumbai and other parts of the state, and, also the ongoing campaign by the Maratha community for quota in jobs and eduction, for whom ‘Shivaji Maharaj’ is the most revered icon and enduring source of inspiration.