Mumbai skywalk audit: Wadala, Cotton green walkway is 'hot' spot for young couples

Dec 06, 2017, 11:37 IST | Laxman Singh and Ranjeet Jadhav

Wadala and Cotton Green skywalks have beggars, young couples and anti-social elements in common, and they part ways when it comes to users - the crowd at the former has been increasing, while the latter barely has any takers

Next up: Wadala Road and Cotton Green. The state of the skywalks at these two locations on the Harbour line is nothing worth boasting about either.

Wadala Road
The one at Wadala station connects to platforms on the eastern side. It has multiple arms linking Mumbai Port Trust Colony and hospital, Shaikh Mistry Dargah and Wadala Bridge. And since Wadala station is a junction (CST to Andheri and CST to Panvel), thousands of pedestrians use the skywalk to reach the station and other locations. And, in the next few months, the footfall is only going to increase with the commissioning of the Wadala-Jacob Circle monorail.

A deserted (well, almost) Cotton Green skywalk
A deserted (well, almost) Cotton Green skywalk

According to commuters, lights on this skywalk haven’t been working for a while, so much so that people have had to use the glow from their mobile phones to see ahead. And the darkness has made the skywalk a haven for couples, a bedroom for beggars and a joint, to roll up a joint, for anti-social elements, with people even soiling the place with urine and faeces, making it especially risky for children, women and senior citizens.

The footfalls at Wadala skywalk are set to rise, after the Wadala-Jacob Circle monorail services start, but it remains in a shambles with authorities turning a blind eye to its many problems
The footfalls at Wadala skywalk are set to rise, after the Wadala-Jacob Circle monorail services start, but it remains in a shambles with authorities turning a blind eye to its many problems

There is no guard to keep things in check. Earlier, hawkers used to sit on the skywalk, but now, no more — courtesy, Elphinstone stampede, which seems to have acted as the sole catalyst to wake the authorities up. However, just like Santacruz, here too hawkers have kept their articles along the skywalk railing. Also, mid-day found, the arm of the skywalk leading towards Antop Hill was being used to display illegal banners.

Cotton Green
This skywalk on the Harbour line is among the least used by pedestrians and most by young lovers and beggars. It is in a much better condition than its counterparts in other locations, but the reason for that is no users. In short, money down the drain. The few pedestrians mid-day spoke to said people didn’t feel safe using it because of how isolated it felt and also considering the kind of people found loitering on it. No security guards have been deployed here either.

600m
Length of the Wadala skywalk

490m
Length of the Cotton Green skywalk

Dec 2008
Month work was started on both skywalks

Mar 2012
Month Wadala skywalk was completed

Aug 2011
Month Cotton Green skywalk was completed

Rs 46.01 crore
Cost at which Wadala skywalk was built

Rs 26 crore
Cost at which Cotton Green skywalk was built

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Local take
Fakruddin Khan, Wadala resident
‘The skywalk here is very useful as it connects to important locations in the east. However, the biggest problem is the non-functional lights. People have to use torches or their mobile phones to light their way at night. And this situation has been going on for too long now. It’s not safe. Something needs to be done about it’

Ashok Gupta, Cotton Green resident
‘The skywalk here is hardly used by pedestrians. It’s clean enough but, according to me, wasn’t necessary, considering the low footfalls. Also, it’s being used by youths to loiter around and engage in obscene activities’

Niggling issues
> The lights on Wadala skywalk haven’t been working since long.
> Filth, including urine and faeces, has been plaguing the Wadala skywalk.
> There are barely any takers for the Cotton Green skywalk.
> Both skywalks have become the favourite haunt of beggars, young couples and anti-social elements.

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