More than 5,000 residents don’t want the proposed skywalk to come up in Mahim west.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) plans to construct a Rs 39 crore, 2.1-km skywalk from Mahim station to Hinduja hospital via the bus depot for the convenience of pedestrians.
The piling work of the Mahim skywalk began in October and is expected to be completed by April 2010.
The MMRDA has planned 61 skywalks across the city at a cost of Rs 1,480 crore.
Only Bandra and Kanjurmarg skywalks are operational, the remaining projects are delayed because of opposition from local residents.
But locals — including citizens' groups, schools, Mahim Church, Mahim Dargah and 68 housing societies — are opposed to the proposed skywalk saying it would create more trouble and inconvenience, than relief.
On Thursday, citizen activists, led by Ashok Ravat, spokesperson of the Citizens' Forum G-north ward, Anwar Khan of Mahim United Forum, Esme Lobo and Irfan Machiwala, met Metropolitan Commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad and submitted a memorandum of 5,000 citizens' signatures.
“We have proposed the skywalk here on the elected representatives demand. The people here want hawker-free pavements, which would not be possible,” said Gaikwad, who visited the area to check the alignment of the skywalk and met residents near Mahim Church.
But citizen activists are adamant.
“We will not let them construct the skywalk. We will stop the work by peaceful agitation and come out on the streets, if needed,” said Ravat.
“The skywalk would be the safest place for new slums to come up like it happened in Bandra. If the government wants to develop the area, it should remove encroachments and make the pavements hawker-free instead of building skywalks,” said Farooq Dhala, member of the Mahim West Skywalk Protest committee.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), that joined hands with locals to oppose the proposed Dadar skywalk resulting in the project being stalled, said it would support Mahim residents too.
MNS shakhadhyaksha Virendra Tandel said: “We are with the locals and will come out on the streets if the government does not hear the locals’ voices.”