The civic body is set to take charge of Mumbai's skywalks, which are notorious for being unsafe and poorly maintained.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had spent Rs 700 crore on building 36 skywalks in the Mumbai metropolitan region, 24 of which are in Mumbai. The urban development body currently spends Rs 50,000 a month on maintaining each skywalk. Even so, all the skywalks are in bad condition. And with women feeling unsafe on the skywalks, they have failed to serve their purpose.
A senior official of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said they will take over all the skywalks in the city. “We are the caretaker body and it is supposed to be in our purview to maintain the skywalks. A joint inspection with MMRDA will be conducted soon to check the state of the skywalks and find out details about the contractors maintaining them,” said SO Kori, chief engineer, bridges department.
HT, through its reports, has highlighted how these skywalks are unsafe to use at any time of the day because of poor lighting and absence of security guards. Many women have complained of harassment on skywalks. In addition, the walkways are often broken.
Last year, the BMC had expressed its interest in taking over maintenance of the skywalks after the MMRDA said it wanted to hand over the responsibility. However, the Shiv Sena, which is the ruling party in the BMC, had opposed the plan.
MMRDA had initially planned to construct 56 skywalks in the Mumbai metropolitan region. However, following a poor response from pedestrians and advertisers, they ended up building only 36 skywalks.
MMRDA officials said the skywalks will soon be handed over to the BMC along with full advertising and leasing rights for the structures.
Citizen groups do not expect much from the change in management.
“The BMC has failed miserably in almost every department, be it roads, health or education. They have to address many issues with regard to skywalks, but with the BMC’s performance record, they are unlikely to do so,” said Jitendra Gupta, a Kurla-based infrastructure activist.
The BMC is in the process of taking over the rights and upkeep duties of skywalks in Mumbai
* Skywalks in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (built my MMRDA): 36
* Skywalks in Mumbai: 24
* In 2012, the MMRDA commissioner at the time, Rahul Asthana, had written
to the BMC stating that the authority wished to hand over duties of skywalks under their jurisdiction.
* In 2013, the BMC agreed to the proposal. However, the Shiv Sena, which is the ruling party in the civic body, opposed the plan. They alleged that the MMRDA wanted to hand over responsibility because it did not get advertisements on the skywalks
* Then standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale had said the skywalks had been constructed without conducting a survey and their design was faulty
Monthly maintenance cost: Rs. 50,000 for each skywalk
Amount spent on constructing 36 skywalks: Rs. 700crore