The Bombay High Court on Friday allowed Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to build skywalks across the city, but ordered it not to allow any shops or hawkers on them.
Skywalks are elevated bridges that provide pedestrians an obstacle-free walk, especially around railway stations in the suburbs where hawkers and traffic cause congestion.
While the ruling removes all legal impediments to the construction of skywalks, it puts paid to the MMRDA plan to allow hawkers on them.
The division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice DY Chandrachud also asked the authorities to ensure there was enough distance between skywalks and buildings for residents’ privacy.
The court was hearing a petition filed by the Federation of Retail Traders’ Welfare Association and Ranade Road Citizen’s Forum, a residents’ body from Dadar. The petitioners had approached the court with regard to skywalks proposed at Grant Road and Dadar. They said the skywalks would narrow the roads, increase congestion and inconvenience pedestrians.
“We wont build any shops on skywalks. All skywalks will be four metres wide,” Metropolitan Commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad said.
MMRDA had planned the skywalks as part of its Station Area Traffic Improvement Scheme for effective traffic dispersal in congested areas.