With its unguarded iron rods jutting out of the road, the under-construction Bhandup skywalk is a serious safety hazard for locals, pedestrians and motorists.
The proposed skywalk, 350-m long and budgeted at Rs 12.15 crore, will stretch from the railway station to Lal Bahadur Shastri Road in the west. And officials of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) say they are yet to decide whether to barricade the area or remove the iron rods.
“The plan was to build foundation pillars around these rods, but they occupy too much road space, so we decided against the foundations. We need to take a final decision on whether to cut the rods or barricade the area. That’s why the rods are still there,” MMRDA’s Additional Chief Engineer, A K Pahal said.
“MMRDA is not following even basic safety norms on this project. Is there any accountability at all?” asked Ankur Agarwal, who owns a shop along the stretch.
“Hundreds of pedestrians and vehicles use this road every day — any one of them can get seriously hurt here. These rods are especially dangerous for motorcyclists at night, when they can’t be seen,” said Sunish Subramanian, president of Plants and Animal Welfare Society, who lives in the area.
Locals asked why the MMRDA is working on a skywalk here when a road was sanctioned for this area in 2003. That road, had it been built, would have connected the railway station in the west and the residential area and solved the congestion problem – leaving no need for this skywalk.
“Just clear the hawkers from the area and you’ll have a wide road. Build a small public market for those hawkers if it’s really needed. The authorities are not doing any of that, and are building a skywalk instead. How do we know hawkers won’t occupy this skywalk as well?” asked Shailaja Kamath, a housewife and resident of the area.