On Saturday, this paper ran a front page report about the newly minted skywalk at Grant Road. The report stated that old persons were complaining that despite a whopping Rs 45 crore (approximately) spent on the skywalk, both escalators were not functioning at the time the reporter visited the skywalk.
It is shocking that the spanking new structure which connects Nana Chowk to Grant Road Station had only two escalators, and both were not functioning. There are a challenging 53 steps on the Javji Dadaji Marg end and 60 towards the exit at August Kranti Marg.
One fails to understand why the escalators stopped working just two days after the launch. Of course, the technician did give reasons like flower petals stuffed into the escalator and a rat chewing off a wire, but there needs to be a team on hand to promptly address such problems.
Unfortunately, like several other infrastructure projects in the city, one sees that the planners did not have a complete holistic vision when the skywalk was conceptualised. More escalators should have featured in the plan, even when it was just on paper.
Fifty plus steps are a daunting prospect for most people. Moreover, commuters are usually carrying bags, and may be weighed down by parcels and luggage. So to negotiate those steps may become especially difficult, even for young people.
The monsoon too, may make steps slippery and this is an added problem for the elderly. More escalators ones that are functioning, that is may have alleviated this problem.
One hopes that authorities now move quickly to keep escalators functioning properly, extend restricted timings of escalators and people too respect this infrastructure and learn escalator-etiquette.
Let the Grant Road skywalk not become another unused piece of infrastructure simply used for power walking, jogging and fitness freaks in the mornings and not for the purpose for which it is built to facilitate easy access to different parts of the area and decongest the road below.