The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is gung-ho about its skywalk project.
Even as the Bombay High Court on Friday directed that there should be no shops or hawkers on the skywalks that are being built across the city, MMRDA officials said 40 skywalks would be ready by May.
“As per the high court recommendations there won’t be any shops on the skywalks,” said Metropolitan Commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad. “But we will complete 40 skywalks by May this year.”
In January 2008, MMRDA announced its plan to construct 50 skywalks across the city under the ambitious Station Area Traffic Improvement Scheme and even earmarked Rs 600 crore for the project from its budget.
However, it later cancelled the skywalk proposed at Kurla (East) after strong opposition from residents.
The other 49 locations for the skywalks were selected based on the requests from elected representatives and surveys conducted by MMRDA officials.
The officials had contemplated rehabilitating nearly 30,000 commercial project-affected persons on these skywalks. But while finalising the project, the MMRDA reduced the number of shops to be shifted to 25 of the 49 proposed skywalks to just 2,175.
The project had also come under the scanner after various traders’ bodies raised strong objections fearing that the skywalks would affect their businesses. Residents in some areas, like Mulund and Mahim, too opposed the project as they felt skywalks were not required there.
“We have changed alignments of the skywalks at the request of residents. We will look into every grievance but won’t cancel any of the skywalks,” Gaikwad said.