Maharashtra govt stays BMC plan for Rs 15 crore skywalk at Malad | Mumbai News – Times of India


MUMBAI: After protests by residents and shopkeepers, the state government on Thursday stayed a BMC plan to construct a Rs 15-crore skywalk across Poddar Road in Malad (E). Residents and shopkeepers had complained to textiles and fisheries minister Aslam Shaikh, who took up the issue with Mumbai suburban guardian minister Aaditya Thackeray. Thackeray told BMC to review it.
“All work has to be in sync with what is required for development. Obviously, there are multiple views about the utility of skywalks, but as locals have voiced reservations, it needs to be reviewed,” Aaditya told TOI. The skywalk was to connect Malad railway station to Pushpa Park Metro station.

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The decision to stay and review Malad (E) skywalk is welcome. Several skywalks in Mumbai have been declared dilapidated and dismantled. Many that are still standing are rarely used by pedestrians. BMC’s plans to ease movement of pedestrians is good, but it must spend such huge sums on constructing skywalks after proper planning so that they don’t turn into white elephants. BMC must ensure proper maintenance and illumination of skywalks too. In fact, it must review all skywalk projects.

This is the second such project against which residents have protested. Residents had opposed a BMC plan to construct a Rs 91-crore skywalk in Borivli (E). The proposal, cleared early this year, was to connect Borivli station (E) with Omkareshwar Temple on M G Road. Residents said the skywalk will be a waste of money and further congest the area.
Shaikh said it will block shops and reduce footpath space. “It was being built without proper planning or thought. It would have turned into a white elephant, like many other skywalks in Mumbai, which people rarely use. We urged the minister to stay it. He directed BMC to review it. BMC officials who allow such ill-planned projects must be probed,” Shaikh said.
“This area is congested and the skywalk would have added to the mess. It will be a massive waste of public money. Many residents opposed it. The road is 60-ft wide on paper, but in reality it is only 20-50ft. The skywalk would have created a major traffic jam and congestion. Skywalks are in bad condition and none are used by pedestrians. We opposed it,” said businessman Vipul P Shah.
BMC also cleared a proposal to construct a Rs 20-crore skywalk in Kurla (W) and proposed one from Taximen’s Colony to Shrikrishna Chowk.

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