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No space to walk in suburbs

mumbai Updated: Oct 08, 2011 01:31 IST
Sujit Mahamulkar

The civic body may have spent crores of rupees building and maintaining pavements, but it does not show in the suburbs. Many areas in the suburbs don't have footpaths at all.

The top five wards where the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has spent the maximum amount of money are from the island city.

While the BMC spent Rs 6.91 crore in the G-north ward (Dadar (west), Shivaji Park up to Mahim) in the past five years, the maximum it spent in a ward in the suburbs amounts to less than half that -it spent Rs 2.45 crore in the K-west ward, which includes Vile Parle and Andheri (west), Lokhandwala and Oshiwara.

"The suburbs have fewer footpaths. As the island city was developed during the British era, pavements were built alongside the roads. What mess our politicians and bureaucrats can create is there to see in the suburbs," said a civic official, on condition of anonymity.

It's only in the last few years that the BMC has started building footpaths here.

The suburbs have open storm water drains on the sides of the roads. The BMC has lately started covering these with cement blocks so the space can be used as pavements. Areas such as Santacruz, Vile Parle, Andheri, Goregaon, Malad, and Mulund have such footpaths.

"There is almost no footpath in the western suburbs. Wherever there are, they are for hawkers, not pedestrians," said Rajendraprasad Chaube, the Congress corporator who represents Dahisar ward. "For instance, pavements in Dahisar are occupied by hawkers as there is no BMC market."

"There is no footpath in Borivli (east) on Kasturba Marg, from the National Park signal to the station. On some stretches, the drains are open, which is dangerous," said Krishnaraj Rao, Borivli resident and social activist.

Rohit Roy, an activist from Chembur, said: "In Chembur, on RC Marg there are no footpaths and people have to walk on the road amidst heavy traffic." Satish Badve, chief engineer of the road department, was not available for comment despite repeated attempts.