While the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is keen to hand over the skywalk project to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for maintenance, the latter’s standing committee has opposed the proposal.
Speaking to SUNDAY MiD DAY Standing Committee Chairman Rahul Shewale said, “Constructing the skywalks in Mumbai and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) without conducting a proper survey was the biggest mistake the MMRDA made. They claimed the skywalks would bring in huge revenue by selling the advertising rights on the skywalk but that hasn’t worked. Now that the MMRDA is having trouble maintaining them, it wants to hand over the skywalks. Our standing committee opposes this proposal.”
It cost the MMRDA Rs 700 crore to construct the skywalks, and Rs 2.5 crore per year to maintain them.
In a letter written to the BMC Commissioner on December 19, Metropolitan Commissioner Rahul Asthana has said that the MMRDA wants to handover the skywalk inside the BMC area along with leasing of Advertisement Rights.
The copy of the letter, which is with SUNDAY MiD DAY, mentions that advertisement space has been allotted on the Bandra (east and west) skywalks. For the rest, tenders of offer are open and the proposals for allotment of leasing advertisements rights have been processed.
The letter proposes a handover of the skywalks as per previous practice and because all the skywalks as per the attached list are within BMC limits and over BMCs roads.
A source from Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation Ltd. (MSRDC) says, “At present the MMRDA spends Rs 50,000 per month on the maintenance of one skywalk. The annual expenditure amounts to Rs 2.5 crore to maintain 23 skywalks within the BMC jurisdiction. The response to the advertisement rights on the skywalk has not been good and so it’s better to handover the skywalks to BMC.”
The MMRDA also seeks to avail 50 per cent of the revenue gathered by BMC on skywalks through advertisements, to help recover at least a portion of the capital cost on the skywalks.
It should be noted that earlier MMRDA was going to construct 56 skywalks in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). However after it found that the response to the skywalks from both pedestrians and advertisers was lukewarm, the planning authority constructed only 39.