The 23 skywalks constructed under the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) limits are turning out to be white elephants for the MMRDA.
Realising that the Rs 700 crore spent on constructing the skywalks have gone down the drain and the annual maintenance is amounting to Rs 2.5 crore, Metropolitan Commis-sioner Rahul Asthana has written a letter on December 19 addressed to the Brihanmum-bai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner stating that it would like to hand over the skywalks in Mumbai to the civic authority. The letter also asked the corporation to maintain the skywalks and earn revenue by selling the advertising rights.
In the last paragraph of the letter, MMRDA has also sought to avail 50 per cent of revenue gathered by MCGM on skywalks through advertisements, so that some portion of the capital cost on the skywalks could be recovered.
The letter explains how these skywalks have helped decongest the railway station area and have enabled easy and safe movement of pedestrians. To generate revenue, skywalks in Bandra East and West have already been allotted for advertisement and for the rest, tenders of offer are open and proposals for allotment of leasing advertisements rights are in process.
“At present, MMRDA has to spend Rs 50,000 a month on the maintenance of one skywalk,” a source from MSRDC said. “Annually, MMRDA spends Rs 2.5 crore on the maintenance of 23 skywalks in MCGM jurisdiction. The response to advertisements on skywalks is also not good and so it’s better to handover the skywalks to MCGM.”
Earlier, MMRDA was going to construct 56 skywalks in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). However, after a lukewarm response from the pedestrians and advertisers alike, the planning authority cancelled the remaining skywalks and constructed only 39 skywalks in MMR that cost around Rs 700 crore.
When the project was planned, MMRDA had expected to earn a lot of revenue by selling advertisement rights on skywalks. However, that idea fell flat. Now, it will be interesting to see if the civic body agrees to the request made by MMRDA and take over the maintenance of skywalks while agreeing to share 50 per cent of the revenue with the planning authority.