Mumbai's Skywalk Project: A Decade Of Broken Promises And Neglect

Mumbai's Skywalk Project: A Decade Of Broken Promises And Neglect

BMC and MMRDA are under fire; residents’ complaints fall on deaf ears, with authorities engaging in a relentless game of bureaucratic ping-pong, shirking responsibility while the skywalk languishes in disrepair.

RUCHA KANOLKARUpdated: Friday, February 09, 2024, 02:15 AM IST
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Mumbai’s ambitious skywalk project was meant to revolutionise pedestrian commute, offering a reprieve from the congested streets below. However, what was envisioned as a modern solution to urban congestion has turned into a glaring testament to bureaucratic ineptitude and neglect.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), spearheading the initiative, touted the skywalks as a panacea for crowded streets, seamlessly connecting railway stations and commercial hubs. Yet, a closer examination reveals a stark reality: a tale of shattered promises and unfulfilled potential.

A decade since the construction of the Cotton Green skywalk, it remains disconnected from its intended destination – the railway platforms. Sachin Padwal, a former Corporator, laments the skywalk’s desolation, citing its eerie emptiness and the palpable fear it instils in pedestrians, particularly women. Despite years of appeals and promises, progress has been agonisingly slow, leaving commuters stranded and disillusioned.

Similarly, the Wadala skywalk, designed to bridge the gap between communities, has instead become a haven for illicit activities and urban decay. Hemant Patil, a resident, recounts tales of drug peddlers and the pervasive stench of neglect that permeates its corridors. Residents’ complaints fall on deaf ears, with authorities engaging in a relentless game of bureaucratic ping-pong, shirking responsibility while the skywalk languishes in disrepair.

Wadala Skywalk

Wadala Skywalk |

A visit to these supposed beacons of progress reveals a grim reality. Broken tiles, rusted staircases, and a suffocating cloak of darkness envelop the Cotton Green skywalk, a stark contrast to the bustling thoroughfares below. In Wadala, the situation is no better, with hawkers commandeering valuable pedestrian space, transforming the skywalk into an impromptu marketplace.

But the blight extends beyond aesthetics; it’s a matter of safety and accessibility. The skywalks, far from being the elevated sanctuaries they were envisioned to be, have become perilous paths avoided by all but the most desperate commuters. The lack of lighting, unchecked illegal activities, and inaccessible entry points render them nothing more than neglected relics of failed urban planning.

Wadala Skywalk

Wadala Skywalk |

The skywalk connecting Tardeo’s Bhatia Hospital to Grant Road Railway Station stands as a desolate monument amidst the city’s bustling chaos, with its promise of convenience overshadowed by the cacophony of traffic below.

Despite the presence of escalators on Grant Road’s Nana Chowk flyover, their disuse has rendered them little more than forgotten artefacts, repurposed as clotheslines by the very populace they were meant to serve. What was envisioned as a seamless link between vital points of transit has devolved into obscurity, with commuters opting for the chaotic yet familiar paths below.

Frustrated commuters demand the BMC to demolish dysfunctional skywalks overrun by drug peddlers, citing safety concerns and the lack of essential amenities like escalators and lifts. The failure of both the MMRDA and the BMC to plan adequately and integrate modern technology into these structures reflects bureaucratic oversight.

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