Things seem to be looking up for the Kandivli (E) skywalk after the attached escalator was finally made operational last month, after over two years of disuse. The escalator was installed way back in October 2010, but was stuck in several complications and only began operating on November 26.
The escalator, which had been installed on the Kandivli (E) skywalk near the railway tracks, now allows people to climb with ease. It also directs them to the railway foot-over-bridge (FOB). The other arm crosses the tracks and there is a landing on the west side of the railway station.
“We have started operating the escalator. Initially, there were problems with the nearby slum dwellers who prevented its smooth functioning,” said S Nage, chief engineer, Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC). Officials added that the 1 metre wide escalator is capable of taking heavy loads.
“Quite often, nearby slum dwellers and street urchins press the emergency button that is present on the top and bottom of this escalator. This results in maintenance issues as the machine immediately shuts down,” said an MSRDC official. Apart from that, there was no particular agency to give the escalator safety clearance and provide it with security for a long time. The MSRDC have assigned a person to ensure the escalator’s smooth functioning at all times.
Meanwhile, local MLAs had already sprung at the opportunity to gather fervour, with political parties putting up posters claiming responsibility for starting the escalator. While MP Sanjay Nirupam, MLA Ramesh Singh and Coporator Ramashish Gupta from Congress are pictured in one poster, another one says that the credit for starting the escalator should go to BJP MLAs Gopal Shetty and Yogesh Sagar.
The fate of this Rs 30 crore skywalk, which was being sparsely used, barring the rag pickers and beggars, seems to have changed after the escalator was put into operation. Initially, the skywalk didn’t connect to the rail FOB and so, it saw very little pedestrian traffic. The escalator is scheduled to operate from 9 am to 1 pm and from 5 pm to 10 pm.