Residents plan to rescue Matunga flyover

Residents of Dr BR Ambedkar Road at Matunga (East) have submitted a proposal to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to develop a garden and a small jogger’s track on the empty space below the Maheshwari Udyan-Tulpule flyover (known as Tulpule flyover), in an effort to prevent the space from being encroached by an illegal parking lot, or being taken over by squatters.

Youngsters play games under the Maheshwari Udyan-Tulpule Chowk flyover at Matunga (East). Residents of the area want to beautify the space to prevent encroachments. PIC/ Satyajit Desai

The proposal is important because open spaces below several flyovers across the city have been encroached. The space below the Wakola flyover and Sion flyover on the Western and Eastern Express Highways have been used to park or dump old autorickshaws for about five years, while at JVLR flyover on the Eastern Express Highway, and illegal shanties have been constructed by encroachers.

This open space is located on the stretch between King’s Circle and Five Gardens signal, which is nearly 1 km long. The letter submitted by the locals to Mayor Sunil Prabhu and BMC officials states that they are interested in developing it by themselves, for which they require permission from the civic body.

“We want to save this space from encroachments and beautify it. We have already received sponsorship proposals. We are only awaiting permission from the civic body,” said activist and local resident Nikhil Desai, who met BMC officials last week to discuss the matter.

Residents also want to create seating arrangements around the pillars of the flyover in addition to creating a circular track for people to walk or jog on. “Recently, beggars have started sleeping there, and we want to nip such activities in the bud,” said another resident, on condition of anonymity. Their fears may be justified, considering that only a kilometre away at Dadar TT lies a parking lot, which is often used for nefarious activities, as is a MSRTC bus depot a little farther down.

“The administration will take a decision on the proposal submitted by the residents soon. The space below this flyover has been allotted to a garden,” said Mayor Sunil Prabhu.

BMC sources however said that the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) hasn’t yet transferred the flyover to them, and this is the biggest roadblock before any decision on beautification can be taken. “We will hand over the Tulpule flyover to the BMC after the monsoon,” said an MMRDA official, on condition of anonymity.  

Flyover facts
> The 1.5km flyover was inaugurated on May 2011 by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan
>The Maheshwari Udyan-Tulpule Chowk flyover was built at a cost of Rs 70 crore and is 17 metres wide, providing two southbound and northbound lanes each

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