The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) wants to have nothing more to do with its big-ticket skywalk project. It had spent over Rs 700 crore on construction of 36 skywalks in Mumbai and the Mumbai metropolitan region, hoping to rake in huge proceeds though sale of advertising rights. Not only has it handed over charge of skywalks’ maintenance to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), but has now also junked plans for any such future construction.

Squatters and decrepit structures have kept pedestrians away from skywalks. File pics
Squatters and decrepit structures have kept pedestrians away from skywalks. File pics

A senior MMRDA official said, "We have already handed the skywalks over to the BMC and now, it is their job to maintain them. We only expect the BMC to maintain the structures. We don’t even expect them to share the revenue generated through advertisements on the skywalks."

Metropolitan commissioner UPS Madan told mid-day that going ahead, the development authority will only focus on mega public infrastructure projects like metro rails, flyovers and bridges. "We have taken a decision that henceforth, we are not going to take up construction of skywalks."

Not a money-spinner
MMRDA’s revenue generation plan fell through after the decrepit skywalks failed to attract a large number of pedestrians and advertisers. Skywalks were touted to be a boon for pedestrians, but their poor maintenance — poorly lit stretches, encroachment by hawkers, squatting drug addicts and beggars — has kept the crowds away.

Finding it difficult to maintain these skywalks, the MMRDA had written to the BMC in 2012, asking it to take over charge of its maintenance. The BMC agreed to take on the responsibility the next year.