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Skywalk turns into haven for voyeurs

Mira Road residents ask MMRDA to install view cutters on the structure to keep peeping Toms out of their homes

Mira Road residents have been yearning to ring their curtains up for some time now. But fear of breach of privacy forces them to reconsider every time.


The Mira Road skywalk that was opened to the public in July last year

At the crux of the problem is the neighbouring skywalk, which was fully opened for pedestrians in July 2011, and has now turned into a convenient vantage point for peeping Toms.

Due to the menace of voyeurs, people residing on the first two floors of the buildings adjacent to the skywalk are keeping the curtains of their windows down round the clock.
 
Fed up with the scopophiliacs, locals have demanded that Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) immediately take measures to install view cutters on the skywalk.

Not seeing eye to eye
Speaking to MiD DAY, Moin Khan, a resident of Crystal Plaza building adjacent to the skywalk, said, "Right from the day when the skywalk was planned, we have been opposing it as we knew that once it was constructed our privacy would be lost.

Since the day this skywalk was opened, incidents of people peeping into our homes from the structure have started. Because of this we have to keep our curtains down the entire day."

As the problem of peeping Toms increased, locals decided to take their grievances to the MMRDA. In a meeting last week, residents of buildings adjacent to the skywalk met MMRDA Commissioner Rahul Asthana and requested him to take measures to protect their privacy.

Taking a dim view
The very next day, MMRDA officials visited the Mira Road skywalk to contemplate what steps could be taken to address the problem. They are now mulling installation of view cutters, as suggested by locals. "We are hoping that view cutters will be installed by MMRDA, so that we can go back to our normal lives," said Khan.

However, officials feel that on the flipside, the view cutters will obstruct light and ventilation on the skywalk. "While installing the view cutters we will also have to ensure that ventilation and natural light is not lost. Therefore, some allowance will have to be made for that," said an MMRDA official, requesting anonymity.

In 2009, when MMRDA had come up with the plan of skywalks, shopkeepers and residents of Mira Road, Bhayander and Kurla had opposed the idea saying that the structures would precipitate a loss of their privacy. Some traders had even said that because of the skywalks their business would suffer.

Present chief secretary and former metropolitan commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad, during his tenure as MMRDA chief, had declared that if residents came forward with complaints of their privacy being lost, suitable measures would be taken.

36
Number of skywalks operational in Mumbai

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