After a two-year-long fight with government officials, local activists in Wadala have finally been successful in increasing the width of the footpath on which huge pillars of the monorail project were reinforced. Last week, the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) increased the width of the footpath, after constant follow-up of complaints by activists.
The civic body had given permission to reinforce the pillars on the condition that MMRDA would extend the footpath. HT has carried several reports on how infrastructure projects in the city were cutting off pedestrians’ access to footpaths.
The MMRDA has now increased the width of the footpath by a metre, making it two-and-a-half meter wide. “It was too long a fight for a minor work. I continuously followed up with officials, who remained negligent toward the issue,” said Nikhil Desai, an activist.
The footpath on DS Baretto Road, which holds the pillars, has a school nearby and witnesses heavy traffic during peak hours. “Children were at risk as they were forced to walk on the road and vehicles sped past them. I met civic and MMRDA officials several times but they continued to ignore the issue,” Desai said, adding that it took seven meetings with authorities to fix the problem. “Each time, they promised action, gave a deadline and conveniently ignored it later.”
“Once, a boy was about to be hit by a car on that road. The pillars are reinforced on a curve, which made it riskier to walk on that stretch. Now we are glad there is enough space,” said a schoolgirl.
VR Mankame, executive engineer of MMRDA, said: “The work was delayed as monorail construction was in progress. There was no point in widening the footpath, when we knew it will be destroyed again due to heavy machines and loading work being carried out during construction.”