Mumbai skywalk audit: Santacruz east, west walkways are a haven for prostitutes

Dec 05, 2017, 12:31 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav and Laxman Singh

Skywalks in Santacruz East and West see huge footfalls daily, as pedestrians continue to put up with filth and damage, besides putting their lives at risk in these dens of beggars and anti-socials

They created it with much fervour, and then, left it to crumble. That's the scene at the mega east and west skywalks in Santacruz — ignored right after being built and currently in a state of utter disrepair. The skywalk on the eastern side is connected with an old public bridge that connects to the western side.

Earlier, hawkers used to sit at the skywalk's entrance; it took the Elphinstone stampede for the police to remove them. The vendors' wooden benches, however, remain tied on the side railings of the skywalk.

Tiles broken or missing, benches damaged, and beggars and anti-social elements are just some of the problems of the Santacruz skywalks in the east and west. Pics/Falguni Agrawal
Tiles broken or missing, benches damaged, and beggars and anti-social elements are just some of the problems of the Santacruz skywalks in the east and west. Pics/Falguni Agrawal

Look east
When mid-day paid a visit, we found tiles coming to pieces and falling off in several spots. Benches were broken and beggars were seen sleeping there, not to mention the omnipresent marks of gutkha and paan, smattered all along the railings. The skywalk ends at Western Express Highway, with extension arms towards Mumbai University campus and Anand Nagar. Pedestrians and commuters have been making full use of it, but come evening and the threat of drug addicts sprawling all over it holds many back. The West side that connects the station with the S V Road junction isn't in a great shape either, with the lack of cleanliness the biggest eyesore — floor tiles broken and missing and plastic littered in a way as if trying to make up for the damaged flooring. And all of this in spite of two security guards posted here, one of them on the arm that connects the station with the skywalk.

This side has also been in the news in the recent past as an assembly point for sex workers, who have been gathering there late in the night. Pedestrians had raised the problem of encroachment by hawkers, hindering smooth movement. However, the skywalk was free of them when mid-day visited, a result, perhaps, of civic body's recent crackdown on them. The BMC has installed huge banners declaring the skywalk a no-hawking zone in a bid to discourage the illegal vendors from returning.

700m Length of the East skywalk
Rs 29.23cr Cost of building the east side
Jul 2012 Month east side was finished
Nov 2008 Month work was started on both the skywalks
600m Length of the West skywalk
Rs 30.80cr Cost of building the west side
Jan 2011 Month west side was finished

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Niggling issues
In the east…Beggars were seen sleeping all over. Tiles had popped out in a number of spots, and benches were found broken.
In the west…Floor was found broken and damaged in several areas. Complete lack of cleanliness with gutkha and paan stains dotting numerous patches.

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