Mumbai: Residents want Nana Chowk skywalk dismantled, relocated

Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant supports residents’ demand that the ‘monstrosity’ be taken down and the obscenity stopped

Recently, seven residents from the Nana Chowk area, met Shiv Sena MP for Mumbai South, Arvind Sawant at his SoBo office to press for demolition of the Nana Chowk skywalk, which they label as a “monstrosity”. They spoke to him for half an hour, about a slew of problems which have been reported in the past, from peeping Toms on the skywalk, to filthy surroundings, vagabonds and drunks on the infrastructure, to amorous couples getting it on, on the mostly deserted skywalk, once night falls.

A dead pigeon on the defunct escalator, residents claim it has been there since weeks
A dead pigeon on the defunct escalator, residents claim it has been there since weeks

Sawant said, “The residents met me on the weekend, and after hearing them, I also think that the skywalk should be removed. It is being completely misused and there are obscene things going on, on the skywalk. It needs to be dismantled and can be shifted to a location where it is needed. The idea of constructing a skywalk here was pure nonsense. Now, instead of wasting money on the electricity (you need lights on the skywalk) it may be time to cut losses and take it elsewhere.” When asked if dismantling it was practical, Sawant said, “Yes, only the pillars will remain and those can be demolished. The other material will be used elsewhere.”

A dead pigeon on the defunct escalator, residents claim it has been there since weeksTraffic jams at Nana Chowk and (below) Nana Chowk residents
Traffic jams at Nana Chowk and (below) Nana Chowk residents

Residents from Ishwardas building, next to the skywalk, came together with residents from the New BMC building, also diagonally opposite Ishwardas, and the landmark Ness Baug, which is the latest entrant in the fight against the skywalk. Three buildings put down their problems in writing.

(L-R) Rajesh G, Viraj K meeting, with Ashok Sawant and Arvind Sawant (extreme R) at the meeting
(L-R) Rajesh G, Viraj K meeting, with Ashok Sawant and Arvind Sawant (extreme R) at the meeting

The New BMC building letter dated April 29, states, “The escalators even when functional are of no use to disabled people, parents with toddlers or senior citizens, considering one has to climb half a floor to get to it…” Claiming it has, “nuisance value” the residents pressed for its “absolute removal.”

Ness Baug is the most fiery, when asking for the demolition of the skywalk. Ness Baug president F A Poncha, in his letter dated April 29 to Arvind Sawant, and representing the Parsi colony writes, “This monstrosity should never have been erected in the first place and ends, “We would submit that constructing this skywalk has emanated from greed, arrogance, ego and incompetence. It is necessary for good sense to prevail and instead of allowing a grave mistake to continue forever, the skywalk should be demolished and the salvage sold off.”

BMC chief says
BMC chief Ajoy Mehta claimed he had no idea about the meeting or what exactly the grievances were or how this has come about. He said, “When this skywalk was built, it was obviously done with some purpose in mind and some reason, so, if it is not fulfilling its aim and in fact has become a nuisance, I need to check all this, before I can give a definitive comment on whether a demolition is even feasible or not.”

Rs 43.12 cr
Cost of constructing the 585 metre-long skywalk

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