mid-day editorial: Time to step up on the skywalk issue

One of the city’s marquee infrastructure projects — the Grant Road skywalk — continues to be mired in controversy. Popularly known as Nana Chowk skywalk, it cost a cool R43 crore and was thrown open to the public in 2014. But the steel-tentacled project has been beset with problems since then. A report in the Sunday paper stated that problems have exacerbated since January, with the skywalk having become a hub for addicts and drunkards.

The structure connects Nana Chowk to Tardeo, Kemps Corner, Lamington Road, Girgaum Chowpatty and Opera House, and houses two escalators, both of which have now been defunct for some time. While these escalators have been closed sporadically since the time this skywalk was opened, this long closure means even fewer people are using the skywalk than before. It has instead become a haven for undesirable elements. The landing has alcohol bottles strewn all over. Leftover food is also thrown there. Vagrants lounge, drunks use it as a bar where one can literally and figuratively get high in the sky, and couples use the area for some canoodling and heavy petting. There are perverts too, who flash residents whose building windows overlook the skywalk.

In fact, one cannot but help feel sorry for Nana Chowk residents, who have virtually been imprisoned in their homes. They suffer these Peeping Toms if they keep windows open, or are sometimes subjected to an open show by couples indulging in graphic PDA (public displays of affection).

It is shocking that such a high-cost SoBo project, has beceom an eyesore and has been allowed to go to seed like this. We see an absolute unwillingness from anybody to take responsibility. This myopic project now needs security guards at entrance and exit points. Different agencies need to stop passing the buck and address this lacuna immediately.

Residents are taxpayers and it is their money that has helped built this skywalk. They do not deserve to be dismissed flippantly.

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